News In Brief 3 July 2017


The global cooperative and social impact investor Oikocredit, which is a member of the Social Stock Exchange, published its latest social and environmental performance report, covering 2016. The full report is available here. Inclusive finance represented 78% of Oikocredit’s €1,047 million development financing portfolio in 2016. The remainder was invested in organisations focused on agriculture and renewable energy. The inclusive financing organisations assisted reached 40 million people last year, 84% of those being women.


Government data showed that renewable energy generated 26.6% of the UK’s electricity in the first quarter of this year, an increase of 1% on last year, while coal’s output dropped from 15.8% to 11.3%. All low-carbon sources, including nuclear, generated 45.6% of the UK’s electricity, which was up from 44.4% at the same three-month period last year.


The office of National Statistics released figures showing that UK households are currently saving less than in the past 50 years, with 1.7% of income unspent in Q1 2017, “the lowest savings ratio since comparable records began in 1963” and against a savings ratio averaging 9.2% of disposable income over the past 54 years.


The Social Stock Exchange member Capital for Colleagues, an investment vehicle focused on opportunities in the Employee Owned Business (EOB) sector, gave an update for the quarter ended 31 May 2017. As of that date its portfolio comprised 15 unquoted EOBs, with a Net Asset Value £6,560,754 (versus £4,190,852 the previous year).


The Social Stock Exchange member company Milestone Group, which is listed on AIM, reported a loss before taxation of slightly more than £1.33 million for the six months ending 31 March 2017, and announced it will be “reducing focus on some of its legacy business areas including Passion Project”. Administrative expenses for the period, at £1.15 million, were more than 52% higher than for the same period of 2016.


Marine Power Systems, the wave power technology company based in Swansea, South Wales, published Making Wave Power Work which asserted that wave power could generate as much as 10% of the world’s electricity by 2050, given the right policy supports and private sector investment.


Wayra Fair By Design, part of Telefónica Open Future; it says its mission is to “democratise entrepreneurship”. It’s a start-up accelerator that is aiming to raise £20 million to invest in enterprises that will prevent low-income households from paying more for services including energy, insurance, borrowing, transport and food.


The Law Commission published its final, 155-page report on Pension Funds and Social Investment. This important report contains numerous recommendations for government policy, not the least of which is the final one: “Government should consider whether pension schemes should be required to ask their members periodically for their views on social investment and non-financial factors.”


The Financial Conduct Authority’s final reports into the UK asset management business found strong evidence of what it called “persistently high” levels of profit earned by asset managers. It also said that asset managers do not compete on price, and that there was no clear relationship between charges made and gross performance of retail active funds. Commenting on the report Merryn Somerset Webb, editor-in-chief of MoneyWeek, said: “Here’s one for the FCA: move faster. And one for investors: vote with your feet. There are fund managers out there charging perfectly reasonable fees…There are funds that return the benefits of scale to their investors by offering to drop their fees as their fund grows. And there are funds that are run in a genuinely active way. Buy those and sell the others. That should do it.”



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