What encouraged you to research ethical ISAs and why did you choose Triodos?
I had a Cash ISA with a building society, but the interest rates were awful. So, I thought stocks might be interesting to invest in. During the first lockdown in April 2020 I spent time researching ethical Stocks and Shares (S&S) ISAs with UK green providers, Triodos came up and its S&S ISA gave better returns than a Cash ISA.
There are a few ethical banks in the UK that I discovered during my research. Triodos is the only truly green one. The impact investing funds were very exciting from what I saw – they’re investing in stuff like wind power. I was also excited by the crowdfunding projects (Innovative Finance ISA), which support big community projects. I really liked how you could see where your money was going. You feel very connected to the projects your money is going towards, which is nice, so you can feel your impact. In the end I opened a Triodos S&S ISA and a Triodos Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA).
Were you motivated by being able to invest tax-free through the ISAs?
Yes, but it wasn’t my biggest concern, both ISAs just had higher returns than other savings products. I had a lump sum I was able to invest straightaway and now I add to it when I can. I know investing rather than saving carries risks, but I only invest what I can afford to lose. So, I could lose it and it would be painful, but not life changing.
How do you feel about the current banking sector?
It’s not the root of all evil, but the banking sector goes where the profit is. I’d like the sector to be transparent. Transparency is key to seeing what's going wrong and then pulling banks up on it. But that needs to be legislated otherwise it's not really going to happen.I do see banking as more able to affect systematic change than individual action.
What sectors/problems in society would you like your money to support most?
Work against climate change, supporting renewables and clean energy. Also, new heating systems.
Do you think you trust Triodos Bank UK as a business more because it can prove it’s ethical in its investments?
Yes, for sure. If anything came out that contradicted the ethical message that would definitely make me consider closing my account. I traded higher interest rates for the ethical account – it has to actually be ethical.
Is your decision to move to a sustainable bank tied to your desire to try and be as environmental as possible?
Yes, during lockdown I had a lot of free time and did a lot of Googling. But I don’t know why I didn’t switch earlier.
With all investing, your capital is at risk. The Triodos Impact Investment Funds should be seen as long-term investments (five years or more), as their value can go down as well as up and you may not get back what you put in. It’s important to remember that past performance is not a guide to future returns.
Triodos Bank doesn’t offer financial advice, so if you're unsure which investment is right for you, it’s a good idea to ask an independent financial advisor.
Triodos Ethical Stocks & Shares ISA
We believe investing can support a sustainable future and offer a range of pioneering Impact Investment Funds, which can be held tax-free in our Ethical Stocks & Shares ISA.