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In your words: sustainable saving with a stocks and shares ISA

By Mike Narouei, Content Producer at Boring Money

14 Oct, 2020

We caught up with Hilary Jayne from Ealing, an impact investor spending her retirement down the allotments and working with local charities. Her Stocks and Shares ISA provider of choice is Triodos, a bank which aims to only ever make a positive impact. Sounds spot on for sustainable saving – so what does Hilary think?

Sponsored by Triodos

Why do you invest? Is it mostly to grow your savings or mostly to have a positive impact?

- “Both are equally important for me.
- “As I’m now retired I need to have good returns on my investments. I’ve been more than happy with the performance of my funds so far, and feel they are competitive with the mainstream companies. And I never have to feel any guilt about what I might be funding!
- “It’s very easy to balance the two with the Triodos - I’ve never had to worry about making a choice between returns and ethics.
- “In addition to investing for growth and to have a positive impact, the security of my hard-earned money is also important to me. The Triodos ethical stance means that I feel I can trust them more than the mainstream banks not to invest in anything risky like sub-prime mortgages (which were the root of the banking crisis of 2008). I believe that investing in problem-solving companies rather than problem-causing sectors just makes more sense economically, and will be more secure in the long term.”

What sort of companies or organisations do your Triodos funds invest in?

- “It’s easy to find out where my money goes on the Triodos website, and they send out more in-depth information in regular newsletters. There is such a fascinating variety of organisations, large and small. I occasionally have a look at them out of curiosity, and am always pleased to find out that they are exactly the sort of organisations that I want to support.
- “I’ve been a long-term supporter of the Soil Association, and wasn’t at all surprised that Triodos works closely with them – they are a natural fit.”

Is your Triodos stocks and shares ISA simple to use and do the fees make sense?

- “If I can use it, anyone can! The instructions for setting one up are very clear and easy to follow, and the fees are clearly explained.”

What would you suggest to someone who has some cash saved away, wants to start investing sustainably for the first time, but has no idea where to start?

- “There’s no way I’m going to pretend to be a financial advisor here…! However, I have total sympathy with this poor investor! It can be really difficult to get to grips with sustainable/ ethical/ impact/ light green/ dark green/ socially responsible investment – there’s no standardised terminology, and different fund managers and investment platforms take totally different approaches.
- “I assume that this investor has already done their basic planning, e.g. the level of risk they’d be happy with, what their specific financial goals are e.g. house purchase or retirement planning, what sort of timescales they’re looking at, how much they have to invest...
- “They could also have a think in advance about whether they want to avoid particular sectors e.g. tobacco or fossil fuels, or if there is anything they particularly wish to invest in e.g. organic farming. Or they could pick an impact investment with Triodos and trust them do the thinking!
- “A specialist financial advisor may be able to help navigate through the complexities. In the past I found many of them weren’t necessarily very clued up about impact or ethical investing. However, things have definitely improved and there are now more specialists around.
- “In all, don’t stop believing! We are living in such dreadfully confusing and scary times at the moment, and none of us know what’s coming our way next. Much of it is out of our hands, but one thing we can control is where our money goes. Instead of propping up the system that is destroying our world, we can use it as a force for good to make sure there is a future.
- “Positive investments in companies that are solving the problems rather than causing them just makes sense – you CAN look out for yourself and make a real difference at the same time!”

With all investing, your capital is at risk. The Triodos Impact Investment Funds should be seen as long-term investments (five years or more), as their value can go down as well as up and you may not get back what you put in. It’s important to remember that past performance is not a guide to future returns.

To learn more about stocks and shares ISAs, check out our ISA investing guide and provider comparison tables. And be sure to check out Triodos if you’re considering sustainable impact investments.