It’s Not All Bad News.
Before a TV programme or film is broadcast, it is now common practice for the viewer to be provided with guidance as to the content and subject material they are about to be exposed to. I believe that this helpful practice should become mandatory for all news programmes with immediate effect.
I think all presenters should be dressed in black and they should deliver a standard warning such as;
“Good evening and welcome to our depressing news hour. The information that you are going to be exposed to is likely to cause some distress. In order to prepare yourselves, you may wish to pour yourself a stiff drink and if you experience any strong reactions such as panic, anxiety or nausea, we recommend that you adopt the brace position and try to breathe normally. If the symptoms persist, you should contact your medical practitioner”.
As we have been confined to our homes and our movements restricted (unless your football team won a trophy), we have had to rely on the media to keep us informed about global events. To introduce some variety, Covid updates are interspersed with pictures of melting glaciers and stories about diversity and lack of opportunities.
I would not wish to downplay any of the above topics, however, the picture is not quite as bleak as it is normally portrayed and one of the reasons for this is the world of investment.
Investment Influences Innovative Entrepreneurs.
The investment industry normally makes the headlines when something has gone wrong or a scandal has occurred. Again, the mainstream media love a good crisis! Any fraud or misselling practice is serious and investors should be compensated and the perpetrators punished, however, in a multi trillion pound industry that is more highly regulated than ever before, these scandals are pretty rare.
For investors, the two main priorities are risk and reward and if an investment strategy is meeting its objectives, peace of mind is achieved. However, investors are also ordinary people, who typically share the same concerns as everybody else. Climate change, employment conditions and inequality in the work place are things that concern us all and most parents will worry about the planet that their children will inherit.
Whilst protest groups are an important vehicle to raise awareness and politicians can campaign on issues of popular concern, real change comes from innovation and entrepreneurship and these cannot happen without investment.
Much Greater Diversity.
20 years ago, there were a small number of “ethical” investment funds available that wouldn’t invest in companies such as arms manufacturers or environmental polluters, however, the choice was limited and investors may have had to sacrifice investment returns in order to meet their ethical concerns.
Today, ESG (Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance) is at the heart of how investment companies themselves behave and influences the investment decisions that they make. Companies are aware that negative publicity will have a greater impact than slick marketing. Although I am sure there is still a long way to go, in my experience, there is much greater diversity in the investment industry than there was 10 years ago, including senior management, economic and fund management roles.
Investment companies are also able to influence the behaviour of the companies that they invest in. As they are able to commit large amounts of capital to assist companies in their growth and development, they become important shareholders. They do not wish to be associated with companies that do not subscribe to high standards and use their influence accordingly.
Considerable Investment Opportunities.
Perhaps the greatest impact is the investment into technology, research and development. As politicians attend summits and make promises they may or may not keep, the investment industry is pumping trillions into green energy, electric cars and medical science. Companies are researching and developing products and services that will shape the future and tackle the issues that will affect future generations. Whilst there are many challenges ahead, the picture is not as bleak as we are often led to believe. The investment industry is not only funding much needed change, the companies of the future also offer considerable investment opportunities.
Next time you sit down to watch the news, instead of a stiff drink, you may want to hold a pinch of salt!