Ethical investment hub launches onlineApril 2013
The first online marketplace for positive ethical investments has gone live at ethex.org.uk
Individuals can now buy and sell investments in leading social businesses online through Ethex, the UK’s first not-for-profit stockbroker.
Ethex features ‘positive investments’ – investments in businesses that offer social, environmental and financial returns as part of their mission. This is in contrast to most traditional ethical investing, which excludes certain harmful activity such as tobacco and armaments, but otherwise aims to maximise financial return, often regardless of social impact.
By making positive investing easy to understand and easy to do, Ethex aims to open up the market to thousands of new investors, bringing a significant boost in capital to social businesses and creating liquidity in their investments?Jamie Hartzell, founding director of Ethex, explains: “Positive investing means investing in a business because of what it does, not what it doesn’t do.
“As both a social entrepreneur raising capital, and an investor looking for a social and a financial return, I found that positive investing was not as easy as it should be. Ethex changes that.”
“We believe that Ethex is a game-changer – we want to do for ethical investment what fairtrade and organics have done for ethical consumerism.”
Businesses featured on the Ethex site, such as the Ethical Property Company and Charity Bank, go through a rigorous screening process. They must be well established and governed; demonstrate a genuine triple bottom-line return of social, environmental, and financial benefits; and offer a suitable investment or savings product. Ethex provides them with access to a growing community of dedicated ethical investors, making attracting and managing investors easier and lower cost.
Investors can browse and compare detailed business and investment product profiles and place orders online. By opening a member account they can track their portfolio of investments. The whole process is designed around the positive investor, taking the hassle out of the investment process, allowing them to invest directly, avoiding complex financial arrangements and high fees, and helping them become more active in their investment decisions.
Hartzell adds: “People have lost trust in the financial system. Ethex goes back to first principles, allowing people to think for themselves about what they want to do with their money, financially, socially and environmentally.”
Ethex is constituted as a company limited by guarantee. It is funded by six leading charitable foundations. Ethex aims to be self-financing in 3 years. Jamie Hartzell, has been working on the idea behind Ethex for a decade, initially envisaging an ethical stock exchange, which then evolved to an online platform focused on individuals. The Board of Directors includes leading names from the ethical finance sectors.
Jonathan Jenkins, ceo of the Social Investment Business: “Everyone with money and values should want them to match up. Ethex helps make this easier.”
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