The idea banks are somehow inherently evil, unfair, foolish; or the naked face of greedy capitalism has had a good run for the past few years as the effects of the financial crisis moved through the system.
Bad decisions were made and lives were ruined all over the world. It’s also clear that despite the recent good run in stock markets around the world, the impact of the financial crisis has still not run its course.
Last week this clip of Bill Oddie, once one of the Goodies, now attacks HSBC in his Sir Richard Attenborough-style mockumentary of bankers and how HSBC in particular is running the planet – funding companies responsible for deforestation in Malaysia.
This is a good stunt and it’s certainly a way to get people to pay attention to the perils of deforestation, but it’s starting to wear thin on the community at large.
One of the biggest changes in the global economy during the financial crisis was how quickly investors and borrowers dropped the idea of “green” or alternative investments and how quickly they embraced investments in businesses that were grubby but profitable.
At CoreData we don’t really know how this will play out in the next few years, but environmentalism doesn’t feature at the retail level when it sits against income and yield.
It does however in the institutional market, whereby a recent 19 country study for a client of pension fund trustees reveals two in three (68%) expect the influence of environmental, social and governance issues among institutional investors to increase in the next three years.
The strongest sense of this was among trustees in Latin America (85%), followed by Europe (78%), US (74%), UK (68%), Asia (40%) and the Middle East (25%).
For the retail market it a little different though, businesses that have focussed on economic utility and customer service (rather than likeability) have continued to outperform through the downturn.