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Why it pays to make finance sustainable

By Jonas Borglin, CEO, The New Division 

In September 2019 more than 45 CEO’s together with the UN Secretary-General launched the Principles for Responsible Banking. Already incorporating more than 130 banks from 49 countries, representing more than $47 trillion in assets,these Principles aim to provide the framework for a sustainable banking system, and help the industry to demonstrate how it makes a positive contribution to society.

It is the latest step forward by a finance sector that is rapidly gaining awareness of firstly how capital can be a driver for sustainable transformation, and secondly of how making more sustainable investments can be a significant source of competitive advantage for their funds.

Portfolio performance and investor demand 

Partly this is an issue of portfolio performance,Fund managers need to mitigate the risk of being left with an investment that falls foul of increasingly stringent laws around environmental impact, supply chain conditions, performance in sustainability areas, and so on. However, for most the calculation ought to be around the greater value that investments in sustainable projects and organisations are likely to yield.

Recent research from Morningstar examined the net return of funds domiciled in Europe to see if this theory holds true in practice. It found that more than 34 per cent of sustainable funds appeared in the top quartile of their category in the year to June and about 63 per cent made it into the top half.

For retail funds an even greater impetus comes not from portfolio performance, but from investor…

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Why are banks struggling to meet SMEs’ needs?

An interview with Łukasz Rozlach, Head of Banking Industry, Comarch

Being a vast majority among businesses worldwide, SMEs generate only about a fifth of banks’ income. Looks like a great big pool of unmet needs.

Something’s wrong here.As reported by J.D. Powerlast year, only 32% of SMEs in the US feel that their bank understands their business.  The UK market, according to Ipsos, faces a similar challenge in 2019: 30% of the local SMEs look for financing opportunities outside of the banking realm. According to World Bank, overall approximately 70% of all micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in emerging markets lack access to credit.

It doesn’t stop there. Globally, as many as 25% of SMEs have turned to finte chat some point – and that number may hit a staggering 64% in 2020– or so say the companies surveyed by EY in the ‘Global FinTech adoption 2019’ report.

The adoption is not just about new products or services;it’s about new technologies, which makes the figures even more impressive. Fintechs seem to be easing pains banks can’t.

According to McKinsey, small business owners spend more time struggling with red tape than doing actual business. More than 70% of what they do is administrative-related. Isn’t that disappointing?

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