Changing Finance: new this month – September

A bumper two-month edition of the monthly round-up of news, ideas and initiatives related to transforming the UK financial system for people and planet, compiled by the Lab’s CEO Jesse Griffiths.

Climate and environment

Here are the results of the ESG investing Olympics. And ShareAction’s new scorecard on the top 25 European banks’ commitments and progress on sustainability issues.

Investors really want to buy green gilts and there’s a new estimate that 1/3 of global assets are sustainable investments, but most climate funds are not aligned with the Paris climate goals. New research shows that companies often omit major climate-related risks from their financial statements.

Extinction Rebellion target the City, demanding an end to fossil fuel investment. Banks are called ‘climate change hypocrites’ over investment in new Cambo oilfield. Stock exchanges shouldn’t list fossil fuel companies, say the Lib Dems.

Central Banks are fuelling the climate crisis. They should link capital requirements to fossil fuel exposure (as say MPs). Here’s how to green public finance.

Bottom of the G7 scorecard: the UK is spending only £180 per person on green jobs and recovery compared with the US’s £2,960 (according to the TUC).

What are the real costs of net zero? (hint: not as big as you think.) And here’s why we need to get there by 2030-35.

The digital revolution

Open finance may increase vulnerability risks – according to a great new discussion paper.

What does taking power seriously mean for assessing the impacts of the digital revolution in finance?

Cronyism claims at the open banking OBIE unit.

Purpose-driven finance

Values-based banks are much more focussed on the real economy than the mainstream – great new research. Here’s a nice article on the rise of Triodos bank in the UK – which is the top bank for funding clean energy deals.

Community banks were ‘irreplaceable’ during the pandemic in the US.

Could a central bank digital currency democratise money?

Fraud is big business

Financial fraud is a £52 billion per year business but investment fraud convictions slump. Bank and loan fraud soars during the pandemic, yet banks are not helping victims enough.

European banks stash €20bn a year in tax havens.

The real economy

The UK has the worst finance landscape in Europe for small businesses – there’s a new APPG report on how to fix this. You can find out who lent to SMEs during the Covid crisis.

The boom in private equity is damaging British businesses and shows the system is broken.

Meanwhile, the UK government now owns equity in over 150 start-ups.

The ‘postcode paradox’ excludes people without a fixed address from financial services.

Regulation, regulation, regulation

The scale of regulatory change is taking its toll on regulators as FCA morale slumps to ‘all time low’ while staff fight to unionise. The City’s demands may overwhelm the FCA.

Perhaps there is there a ‘twin-track’ approach to financial regulation underway in the UK, with liberalisation for financial markets plus greater protection for consumers?

Is the new Bank of England Chief Economist an ‘outrageously bad appointment’?

And finally…

The new economic thinking that could help us build back better. The most amusing thing you’ll watch on carbon capture and storage (CCS). How much of the world’s fossil fuels need to stay in the ground? The World Bank scraps its discredited Doing Business report.

How the Lab manages its recruitment.