Ethical Finance Guide: Of the More Than 60 Financial-Service Companies in the UK That Offer Ethical Investment Products, 37 Comply with the Guidelines of an Ethical Fund as Defined by EIRIS, the Ethical Investment Research Service. the Shares That Make Up These Funds Comply with Positive or Negative Criteria, Such as Environmental Impact and Human Rights. A Complete List of These Funds Is Available from EIRIS. (Ethical Finance)
Stewart, Jules, Geographical
Before investing your savings in an ethical fund, it is sensible to speak with a financial adviser, of which there are two types: tied and independent. Tied advisers are company representatives who can only recommend their company's products. An independent financial adviser (IFA) provides advice on products offered by a range of companies and is obliged by law to recommend the product best suited to your personal requirements.
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has a list of authorised advisers and firms. You can also contact IFA Promotion, an organisation that represents independent financial advisers and lists IFAs that specialise in ethical investment. The FSA also regulates financial services and protects consumer rights. Its website provides free and independent information about general financial matters.
The FSA consumer helpline can answer general enquiries about the various financial products on offer and tell you if a firm or adviser is authorised. The FSA also offers information about switching your bank account.
For ethical banking services, the undisputed market leader is the Cooperative Bank, which 11 years ago launched its first customer survey on a range of ethical issues.
The Co-operative has two million customers and offers a full range banking services based on ethical principles of investment, current accounts to mortgages and internet banking. The bank's ethical policy sets out guidelines on issues such as human rights, the arms trade and genetic modification.
Below is a list of contact details of a selection of companies offering ethical investment and financial services:
* Co-operative Bank: 0800 905090
* Ecology Building Society: 0845 674 5566
* Ethical Investment Research Service (EIRIS): 020 7840 5700
* Ethical Investment Corporation (investment consultant): 01325 267228
* Friends Provident (ethical investment): 0800 00 00 80
* Financial Services Authority (list of authorised advisers and firms): 020 7676 1000; www.fsa.gov.uk
* FSA consumer helpline (general enquiries): 0845 606 1234
* Global and Ethical Investment Advice (IFA): 0161 434 4681
* Homeowners Friendly Society (single premium bond or savings plans): 0500 848 262
* IFA Promotion: 0117 971 1177
* Naturesave Policies Ltd (insurance): 01803 864390
* Quadris (forestry investment): 01483 756800
* Jupiter Ecology Fund (unit trust): 020 7412 0703
* Scottish Life UK Ethical Fund (pension fund):0131 456 7777
* Sun Life Global Portfolio Ecological Fund (offshore funds): 01624 643 498
If you don't ask. …