Many of our clients are entrepreneurs and they are interested in upcoming trends that will impact them and their businesses. This includes potential new business opportunities or even disruptions to current business models. Our partnership with the Economist for a series of thought leadership reports entitled ‘Better Life Breakthroughs’ aims to analyse innovations that have the capacity to extend and enrich life, create new experiences and potentially improve society. Our first report, Innovation in Investment, examines how innovation and advances in technology are opening up new avenues of investment opportunities for high net worth investors, and how these trends may play out in the future. It focuses on two areas which are of increasing interest to investors – fintech and sustainable investing and the symbiotic relationship between them.
An editor in the leading insights for Asia in the Economist Intelligence units stated that the rising cost of accessing innovation in the investment field is means that innovation is only in the hands of the richest elite. When will it be accessible to the lower levels? “The high cost of accessing the latest innovations in these areas limits the initial uptake, but high net worth individuals have the interest and means to experience the future before it becomes mainstream”, said Gareth Nicholson, Managing Editor, Thought Leadership, Asia, The Economist Intelligence Unit.
The latest innovations usually come with a high price tag when they initially enter the market. High net worth individuals have the means and the interest to be the first to experience them before they become mainstream. With time, as manufacturers manage to lower costs of production and make them more affordable, these innovations are scaled to reach a broader audience.
For instance in the automobile industry, enhancements such as anti-lock braking systems, electronic stability control and airbags first appeared on high-end luxury vehicles and later they evolved to become commoditised on more mainstream automobiles.
The understanding of “Sustainable Impact Investing” is that it leads to revolutionary change. Can you comment on the dimensions of this change?
Sustainable impact investing seeks to contribute towards solving some of our planet’s greatest sustainability challenges with investments which help find solutions to environment and social issues. With sustainable impact investing, the opportunity to drive social impact increases as these businesses grow, and it leads to exponential impact and change in communities.
What are the rules that will guide “Sustainable Impact Investing” in the future that will allow it to grow further?
One key misconception around sustainable investing is that there is a compromise in returns. This is often not the case and investors need to look at impact investing with the lens that there is no trade off between financial and social returns. Often, impact investments may require a longer tenure for investments, but they can deliver solid returns alongside development impact targets. Addressing this misconception will differentiate it from philanthropy and allow the industry to grow further.
Can you please speak in more detail about Green Initiatives?
Banks can get involved with Green Initiatives in a number of ways. Not only can we finance and advise our energy clients for new renewable projects, but we can also help them to raise capital via the issuance of debt in the form of Green Bonds. Green Bonds enable capital-raising and investment for new and existing projects with environmental benefits. These could include: projects related to renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable waste management, sustainable land use, biodiversity conservation, clean transportation, Sustainable water management, Climate change adaptation among others.
Green Bond Principles are a voluntary set of guidelines that recommend transparency and disclosure and promote integrity in the development of the Green Bond market by clarifying the approach for issuance of a Green Bond - Standard Chartered signed up to the Green Bonds Principles in 2014.
Green Bonds have opened up Financial Institutions and Corporate Bond issuances to a wider investor base, attracting SRI funds and green pension funds.
You are among the first banks that allows its clients to make payments via “block chain” technology. What can you tell us about this technology?
Our Transaction Banking business most recently announced the completion of the first real-time cross-border payment for business with another major correspondent bank. The pilot, which leveraged Ripple’s enterprise blockchain solutions, reduced the completion time for cross-border funds transfers from what typically requires two days, to less than ten seconds with full transparency of fees and FX.
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