Eco Hero: John Ditchfield, Director of Barchester Green Investments
HJ Fantaskis | 11.10.12
As National Ethical Investment Week launches this Sunday, we catch up with our Eco Hero John Ditchfield, Managing Director of Barchester Green Investment.
With more than 25 years experience in ethical investment, Barchester Green Investment is a partnership, offering fantastic insight into the responsible investment industry and the range of funds available.
Did you know that you can invest money, make a good financial return and make a positive difference at the same time? Imagine if individuals, charities and NGOs, invested their ISAs or pensions according to their values... the potential is enormous...
Anna Guyer, Director of Greenhouse PR says, "As a customer myself, I can vouch that Barchester offers a fantastic, personalised service. It has been tailored to offer support and advice to allow people, like me, to invest ethically and in alignment with our personal values. They help us to make a positive difference - I have been inspired by Barchester and John Ditchfield."
Tell us about Barchester Green Investment - what's your mission?
Our mission is to help people to ‘Make An Informed Choice’. We actively promote the value of investing in companies that make a positive contribution to society and the environment. We also try to live our values in the way we run our own business. We actively campaign to promote best practice within ethical investment. We challenge funds labeled ’ethical‘ that we believe fall short of good practice in their screening approach. We help Barchester to raise awareness of the opportunity to invest ethically by sharing best practice in the media.
What motivates you?
I really enjoy what I do, the vast majority of people struggle to manage their finances efficiently and in line with their ethical values. And that’s exactly what we do - helping people to organise their money and invest responsibly. In practice, this means assisting with retirement planning, investment planning and working with trustees.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
Barchester is now a leading ethical specialist IFA and we are the largest in the UK with over £120M in assets under management. On a personal level I have two beautiful children, Emmeline and Harold.
What are the challenges you face?
Managing a growing business. Our market is changing a lot and we need to attract skilled people into the business.
What are you working on that's getting you fired up and excited?
I am working with two charities on Impact Investing, this is a relatively new type of investment style focused on a social return over financial returns.
Where do you want to take Barchester Green Investment next?
We want to grow in size to around £200M in asset under management within the next ten years.
What can we, as individuals, do to make a difference?
Understand where you are investing and take control of your money.
If you were Prime Minister for a day, what would be the first thing you'd do?
I think we need a more entrepreneurial culture and this should be supported by the tax system, so I would expand Enterprise Investment Scheme and VCT rules to include responsible investments.
What's the coolest project or product you've come across, and inspired you?
I find Triodos inspiring as an organisation because of their very high level of integrity as an organisation, they are really 100% a responsible investment bank.
Can you recommend a life- or game-changing book for our readers?
Graham Greene’s “The Power and the Glory”.
What do you listen to when you're cooking dinner?
Radio 4 comedy or my son playing recorder.
Can you leave us with who'd be your Eco Hero?
James Vaccaro of Triodos springs to mind as an Eco Hero.
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