• More and more investors care about the impacts of their investments on the planet
  • Now there is a tool, EnlightenESG, to align investments choices with their values
  • Stockhead reached out to EnlightenESG’s Marketing Officer, Simon Lowans


A study by Deloitte on millennial spending habits indicated that 42% of shoppers were more likely to purchase from a business if they believed the business had a positive impact on society.

The study concluded that when millennials overtake baby boomers as the largest-spending demographic, companies that are not ESG friendly may stand to lose out.

This trend has proliferated beyond just shopping. Many millennial investors today aren’t interested in just the financial outcomes of their investments, they are also deeply interested in how their investments play a role in impacting global change.

So as the world becomes increasingly focused on ESG investments, financial advisers have a critical role in matching financial products that align with investors’ values.

James Green, Investment Director at one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and asset management firms, deVere Group, says his clients are indeed increasingly more demanding.

“Clients are increasingly seeking to align their investments with their values, and support companies that are making a positive impact on society and the environment,” Green said.

He told Stockhead, however, that an ESG investment that works for one investor, may not be suitable for another.

“While ESG investments have gained popularity in recent years, like all investments they may not be suitable for all clients based on their investment objectives, risk tolerance, diversification needs and cost considerations, amongst other factors,” he said.


Better outcomes for ESG investors

To help its clients make the right ESG investment decisions, deVere has recently partenered with a pioneering profiling tool, EnlightenESG.

Green believes EnlightenESG will enable his firm to better understand clients’ attitudes toward ESG investing, and ensure transparency around the intersection of suitability and sustainability.

“The partnership with EnlightenESG allows us to accurately track the suitability of ESG investments for our clients,” Green told Stockhead.

“Helping our clients reach their long-term financial objectives is the heart of what we do, so this tool is invaluable in assessing which opportunities are appropriate for them and their financial needs and wants.”

Green says that EnlightenESG will ultimately help his clients achieve better outcomes.

“The evidence suggests that companies that prioritise ESG factors can generate better financial returns over the long term by managing risk, innovating, building strong brands, and complying with regulatory requirements.

“By aligning with investor values and investing in these companies, investors may be able to achieve both their financial and social goals,” said Green.


Interview with EnlightenESG

Stockhead reached out to EnlightenESG’s Marketing Officer Simon Lowans, and asked him what the tool does, and how it helps investors.

How does EnlightenESG work, in a nutshell?

“EnlightenESG’s aim is to help people to understand what sustainability in investing means to them,” said Lowans.

“Simply put, EnlightenESG asks a series of questions, and the user gets a report that we think best represents their willingness to add sustainable investments to their portfolios.

“The entire process takes around 10 minutes for a user, and demystifies investment jargon.

“We identified a need for an open, accessible, and standardised suitability profiler that ensures a positive solution for all.

“This protects advisers and clients by helping them to make better choices, through intelligent profiling of appetites and attitudes to sustainability. In the process, it also supports the continued adoption of positive investing.”

How does it help ESG investors?

“It’s important for companies to use it because sustainable investing is becoming ever more important,” Lowans said.

“Corporates can use EnlightenESG to identify employee preferences that are investable for their pension schemes, educate their employees on key issues in sustainable investing, or identify cohorts that are most interested in sustainability.

“The key motivation for EnlightenESG is education… Not just educating the consumer but providing education for those that provide advice, wealth management and pension services to the end consumer.

“EnlightenESG holds the view that often investors overestimate the short term and underestimate long-term opportunities, particularly with regards to technological and societal change.

“An uneducated approach could see significant volatility around capital chasing or leaving sustainable initiatives.

“With education, however, EnlightenESG believes that capital flows into sustainable investments are likely to be more persistent, and as result ultimately more sustainable.”

Tell us more about EnlightenESG’s questionnaire.

“Using a series of questions, the EnlightenESG profiler maps a unique sustainability profile to each user,”Lowans said.

“It is designed to engage with users, regardless of their level of knowledge of sustainable investing.

“Clients and advisers are given some areas they may want to look into, as well as some suggested reading on these areas.

“This structure helps wealth managers map to a product that is ‘Sustainable and Suitable’. This is important, as it means that unexpected outcomes are less likely.

“The questions have a number of design features that attempt to uncover the ESG aspiration of a customer in a quantifiable way.

“The questionnaire is broken down into three sections – Lifestyle, Policies, and What-if’s.

“Each section is psychologically different by design, to try and uncovering different motivations of the customer.”

How is the questionnaire then used?

“In terms of the technology and scoring methodology, all scores are normalised relative to the peer group average, which changes through time,”Lowans explained.

“This continuously updated scoring (learning technology) is pivotal to the tool, it means that a customer ESG profile is always relative to the prevailing ESG sentiment of the peer group.

“This means that as preferences change over time, the outcome for the customer will also evolve to reflect this.

“The final part of the design we utilise is data analysis, to ensure that the questions and profile responses are relevant, and to help identify trends within sustainability.

“We conduct analysis on datasets to identify for example, questions that are scoring highly, which can help identify an issue that is perhaps more important than we may have initially thought.

“We break out profile results by age group, gender or other characteristics to identify cohorts that may be more or less sustainable.

“For us, interrogating the data once profiles have been completed is an interesting way to continue to develop the tool.

“We are furthering this by attempting to utilise the data to build out ‘ESG Sentiment’ indices, which we think will be a useful measure of how in  aggregate clients views on ESG change.”

Can you give real-life examples of how EnlightenESG has helped an adviser/corporate?

“Launched in late 2021 to significant press coverage, EnlightenESG had a very successful first year with many new IFA’s both in the UK and Internationally starting to use the service,” said Lowans.

“Advisers have commented on its ease of use, and ability to quickly help them with their work practices.

“A leading UK IFA COO commented that ‘EnlightenESG is a game changer that supports us in providing holistic financial planning to our clients as they make decisions about the role ESG investing plays as part of their socially responsible lifestyle’.

“EnlightenESG has already profiled several senior management teams at a number of large investment banks and institutions to help them better understand their own internal biases and motivations.

“EnlightenESG can provide a clear picture to corporates about what is truly important to their own workforce – whether it be social, governance, or environmental aspects, which in turn will help businesses evolve to create a work environment that supports their employees in all aspects of their life at work and at home.”