by Nathan Fryer
Whilst many will know about the move to offer clients the option to take into consideration Ethical, Social and Governance when it comes to investing, we are seeing many planners start to question the same of the platforms that they are using.
Indeed, on the 27th November 2019, the EU parliamentary regulations stated that advisers should take sustainability risks into account when selecting a financial product.
So, what should you be looking for?
As part of the platform due diligence process, we examine the following:
- Corporate social responsibility
- Gender pay gap reporting
- Equality and inclusion policy
- Environmental impact statement
- Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting policy
- Membership of the Climate Action 100+ group
- Tax strategy
At this early stage of ESG adoption, we are simply looking to ascertain whether each platform has created a policy or a statement relating to each of these areas.
So, what are we looking for?
Corporate social responsibility
Typically in this area, we are looking for the platform’s governance arrangements to reflect those required by the 2018 UK Corporate Governance Code.
In addition to this, we like to see that they promote the long-term sustainable success of the company, business effectiveness and accountability.
We like to understand the diversity of the business and its employees and the opportunities that they offer.
Gender pay gap reporting and equality and inclusion policy
We check that the platform is fulfilling its obligations to publish its gender pay gap information as per the Equality Act of 2010.
Environmental impact statement
We want to understand how the platform manages its environmental impact as much as is reasonably possible and how it is looking to reduce its carbon footprint where it realistically can.
Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting policy
We like to see if the platform has adopted the reporting requirements of the Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) policy, as implemented by the UK Government in 2019.
Membership of the Climate Action 100+ group
We ascertain whether the platform is a member of the Climate Action 100+ group, which looks to ensure a strong governance framework, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide enhanced corporate disclosure.
This simply asks whether the platform complies with all of its statutory obligations, makes full disclosure to tax authorities in all appropriate jurisdictions and pay all tax when it is due.
Generally, we want to know that the platforms have robust, documented and implemented processes in these areas to help advisers ensure that what they are recommending to clients meets the needs of this new era that we find ourselves in.
If you feel like you could do with some support with your platform due diligence, please drop us a line: email@example.com.