Fox & Hare co-founder and financial adviser Glen Hare said ahead of the InvestorDaily ESG Summit 2023 that the advice industry has a significant opportunity to change the conversations around environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues like the climate crisis, as well as equality in terms of the diverse kinds of clients that advisers support.
“My firm belief is that building wealth does not need to cost the earth,” he asserted to InvestorDaily.
“There’s this huge opportunity but I think as an industry, we’re still grappling with how to tackle it.”
For example, Mr Hare said it is imperative for advisers to proactively propose different and relevant ethical investment options to their clients to ensure that they have the insight to make informed decisions themselves instead of assuming that they may not be interested in those options.
“One of the challenges I have with the industry is often I hear conversations around ESG and the general feedback from advisers is that their clients don’t bring it up or they haven’t mentioned it before, and therefore, they’re not interested in considering it,” Mr Hare said.
“But I’d really like to challenge that thought process. I think we’re doing our clients a disservice if we’re not at least putting these options forward and finding out if clients want to consider them.
“My firm belief is as an adviser, it’s our responsibility to put forward the different options that our clients may like to consider. If after that they say that it’s not something they think or care about, that’s a very different trajectory to not even giving them the option to at least make an informed decision.”
Mr Hare’s comments preceded the InvestorDaily ESG Summit 2023 in March, where he will present a session on the ESG standards that advisers should seek when exploring ESG investment opportunities, and how advisers can become a changemaker and effectively achieve B Corp certification.
Fox & Hare achieved B Corp certification to contribute to creating an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economic system, Mr Hare said.
Mr Hare also encouraged advisers to educate their clients about their investment portfolios and examine not only whether they are invested in companies that could be contributing to the climate crisis, but how portfolios could be altered to invest in segments that are contributing positively to the environment.
“Many years ago, there was a climate rally in Sydney, where there were about 80,000 people who showed up,” Mr Hare recounted.
“When I was standing there looking back at the crowd, I was thinking how many people standing at the rally are really passionate about combating the climate crisis that are then subsequently invested in companies that are contributing to the climate crisis.
“So, we as advisers have an opportunity to educate our clients about their current positions in their investments.”
Alongside this, Mr Hare urged advisers to work with a more diversified client base, noting that there is a lack of diversity in the types of clients advisers support.
“The average age of an advised client is 58, and they might be a decade away from retirement,” he said.
“What about everybody else? Who’s helping everybody else navigate all the financial decisions that they need to make, whether it be planning to start a family and trying to buy their first home?
“There’s a really big conversation to be had around supporting a more diverse client base.”
To hear more from Glen Hare about how advice practices can create an ESG-friendly industry, as well as the pathways and processes to achieve B Corp certification, come along to the ESG Summit 2023.
It will be held at Aerial UTS Function Centre, Sydney on 23 March, and Grand Hyatt Melbourne on 29 March.