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19.5 million people in the UK interested in positive investment, but industry needs to do more to drive uptake


• Five types of positive investor revealed
• 19.5 million people (51% of eligible population) investing positively, or interested in doing so
• Half do not feel they know enough about positive savings and investments
• Under 40s most interested, with highest belief in impact of positive investment
• 58% want positive investment to have an impact in local area
• Improving health and social care and old age support top concerns


New research , released by Ethex, the positive savings and investment platform that makes it easy to make money do good, shows that more than half of the eligible UK population is keen to make positive investments, but that the industry needs to do more to educate people and provide a wider range of products.

The ‘Understanding the Positive Investor’, research shows that the majority (19.5 million or 51%) of people are either already saving and investing positively or are interested in doing so, demonstrating a large unmet demand in society.

It also breaks down the population into five types of positive investor – from the sceptic to the well-informed. These each have different characteristics and levels of understanding of investing positively and will need individually targeted approaches from industry to drive their engagement.


An urgent need for education

The research highlights that there is an urgent need for the industry to provide more information and better education about these kinds of investments. 50% of those asked did not feel they know enough about positive investment and savings, although 45% were willing to learn more.

In addition, over a third (39%) did not know whether to expect a stronger or weaker financial return from positive investments when compared to traditional ones and 55% did not think they were wealthy enough to make positive investments.

While people under 40 were most interested in positive investment, those who currently invest in this way are significantly older and wealthier, suggesting that positive investment is currently only reaching a select group of society.


Demand for local, social and simple products

When it comes to the projects people are interested in funding, positive investments that improve health and social care (31%) and old age support (26%) are most popular. The majority (58%) would also prefer positive investment to have an impact in their local area.

Savers want simpler, accessible positive investment products with 44% expressing interest in taking out or switching to a positive savings account, 43% a current account and 40% an ISA.


Targeting the five types of positive investor

Breaking down the population into different types sheds further light on the nature of interest in positive investment, and how providers can tailor their approach to each group.

1. The Well-informed (9.4 million) A relatively large group that are interested, engaged and see themselves as financially savvy. Confident in their financial capabilities, they believe in doing good through positive investment, and are aware of associated investment risk.
2. The Progressives (5.4 million) The highest proportion of those ‘very interested’ in positive investment and in exploring new ways in which to have a positive impact on society. They tend to have very strong opinions about their motivations and the benefits of positive investment.
3. The Receptive (1.6 million) Only 4% of the UK population and are the wealthiest of the five groups in terms of median total wealth. They are financially confident and are willing to spend time learning about positive investments – but they need convincing of the financial benefits.
4. The Unsure (3.6 million) While highly motivated to give back to society, and show the same level of interest in positive investments as the Receptive, they have low levels of wealth. They have a low level of financial confidence, and feel they know little about positive investing, which tends to prevent them from becoming engaged. They only show strong interest in current and savings accounts, not in investment products.
5. The Sceptics (18 million) The largest group making up almost half the eligible population. Despite being the second most wealthy group, they have a very low level of interest in positive investment.


Lisa Ashford, Director and CEO of Ethex, comments: “Our research clearly demonstrates that interest in positive investment in the UK is high, with those under 40 particularly engaged. However, there is also much confusion and misunderstanding around investing positively. Providers have a lot of work to do in educating people, as well as meeting the growing demand for positive investment products.“

“The research also demonstrates that although the importance of retail investors is often underestimated when it comes to driving change through positive investment, there is potential for this type of investor to have a much larger impact.

“For this to happen, providers need to open up the echo chamber beyond the relatively elite group they are currently communicating with and produce simpler products that tackle the issues people most care about, whilst providing investors with a financial return.

“With 19.5 million people either already investing positively or interested in doing so there is currently a real gap in the market. The traditional financial sector isn’t currently providing the products to meet the demand for positive investment, which is why more and more people are turning to platforms and providers such as Ethex. We would urge mainstream financial institutions to act now to offer a wider range of simpler positive investment products that more fully meet the needs of what their customers are demanding.

“By doing this we can hope to change positive investment from a minority pursuit to a mainstream one.”

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