Refinitiv Announces Second Annual Sustainability Report
Highlighting Refinitiv’s commitment to driving positive change through its data and insight, Refinitiv has announced its second annual sustainability report. Reinforcing its core business values of sustainability, the report outlines the company’s achievements as a transparent, responsible business and goals to be part of an ecosystem of changemakers.
“This report details how Refinitiv is putting sustainability and responsibility at its core. It shows how our ambitious targets are driving real results, such as the way colleagues are helping lighten our environmental footprint and supporting our local communities.” - David Craig, CEO of Refinitiv
In 2019, Refinitiv announced three core pledges in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on environment, social impact and sustainable initiatives. These were:
1. Continuously lighten our environmental footprint
• Be carbon neutral by 2020
• Be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2020
• Reduce annual carbon emissions by an average of 10% over the next five years
2. Reflect and support the communities where we operate
• Foster a culture of openness and inclusion, while promoting an inclusive workplace that embraces diversity of every kind
• Double our people engagement with community investment programs by 2020
• Deliver our goal of 40% women in senior leadership, driven by the Talent, Leadership and Inclusion function
3. Put sustainability at the core of our product offering
• Using our data, forward-thinking technology and expertise to help our customers make sustainable investment decisions; providing transparency in our markets, mitigating risk and generating performance 10
The report details the development in all of these areas, including the company’s success of being carbon neutral and powered by 100% renewable energy at a regional level. In addition, the firm has announced it has more than doubled engagement with its community support programs, from 8 percent to 17 percent, 40% of leadership is now female and its introduction of a 25% global race target at senior leadership level by 2024.
“This is another important step in Refinitiv’s sustainable journey and puts us in the leading pack of responsible businesses. It’s important we continue to strengthen our commitment to positive environmental and social impact, and play our part in the upcoming, and increasingly urgent, decade of collective action.” - Luke Manning, Global Head of Sustainability and Enterprise Risk for Refinitiv
Sustainability: what’s next?
Alongside a review of what Refinitiv achieved in 2019, the report features detailed new sections on how the business is supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals across and how climate change could impact it in the future. Refinitiv, earlier this month, announced a new set of 2025 and 2030 environmental and social goals that represent the next step in Refinitiv’s mission to deepen climate action, be a leading sustainable and responsible business and use the power of its data and insights to help the global investment community shift towards sustainable investments.
FIVE things fintechs must do to keep investors onboard
New investors flocked to the stock market during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thirty-eight percent of investors said they had never had a brokerage or similar account before opening one in 2020.
Low or no-fee trading options have helped accelerate the trend – nearly half of new investors said they accessed their account primarily through a mobile app. As FinTechs, how do we create the trust needed to keep new investors in the market and create a fruitful customer experience for them?
The financial industry does a disservice to individual investors if we merely offer tools that focus on making money quickly, an approach that usually backfires. Instead, the surge of interest presents an enormous opportunity for those who want to help more consumers use financial technology to educate them on responsible spending, saving, and investing in order to achieve financial wellness current fintech tools have welcomed individual investors in the door.
Now, it’s time to focus on education and improving their experience going forward. There are several ways those of us in fintech can step up to shape the future of retail investing so that it works better for everyone, starting with the following areas.
Equal access to financial wellness education
Financial health should be available to everyone — but today, not everyone has the educational resources to achieve it. One study shows that only 3.9% of students from low-income schools were required to take a personal finance class. What they aren’t learning in school or from family members, fintech companies can provide on their platforms.
The companies should move from solely offering financial services to a more responsible model of education, advice, and prescriptive choices to help consumers develop better habits and make wiser financial decisions. Not only can they empower consumers and bridge historical wealth divides, but they can also stimulate growth by opening up new consumer segments.
Just as we’ve come to expect that our fitness routines are tailored to our individual bodies, we’re also ready for finance tools that go beyond one-size-fits-all solutions. But only six percent of financial institutions say they’re using the kind of technology that allows them to deliver a deeply personalized experience. Fintech tools need to reflect that financial success looks different for each of us.
For one consumer, it may mean providing guidance on how to pay off student loans early; for another, it may mean prescriptive actions that enable them to stick to a budget for the first time; for a third, it could look like prioritizing environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments, so that her portfolio aligns with her political beliefs.
Now, we are seeing financial technology beginning to meet the demands of personalized finance in a substantial and meaningful way.
The rise of AI-Powered Advice
Big-picture advice and predictive guidance used to be a feature of high-end financial advisory firms — a perk only available to those who could afford it. But thanks to rapid advancements in data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), that kind of holistic advice is now more accessible than ever. AI-driven robo-advisors can parse many different streams of financial information, delivering customized answers to key questions: Is it time to buy a home, or is it smarter to keep renting? Can I afford to take out another student loan?
Intelligent connectivity powered by AI can anticipate consumers’ needs and next steps, making proactive suggestions that guide them along the path to financial wellbeing. Fintech companies can also help consumers identify when their financial picture becomes too complex for a robo-advisor, and help them find a human financial advisor to meet their needs.
Focus on financial mental health
New investors are quickly finding that the market can be overwhelming. That’s not surprising, financial anxiety is common and studies show that financial stress can have an impact on mental health for some.
It’s not enough for fintech companies to give retail investors access; they also must provide the guidance and support that help consumers manage their financial well-being. Educational tools can ensure that consumers are well informed about their options.
Predictive analytics can anticipate consumers’ questions, serving them key information and insights before they ask. Features that emphasize a comprehensive notion of financial well-being, rather than short-term wins and losses, can also help ensure that consumers are keeping their eyes on the bigger picture.
Gamification for good
The surge of gamification apps has done an impressive job making investing as engaging as playing a video game or joining a social media platform.
Much of the current use of gamification emphasizes short-term thinking, but there’s also an opportunity to help consumers think more broadly about their overall financial picture. One example is peer benchmarking, a feature that enables help consumers to see how their financial habits compare to those of friends and fellow consumers.
Gamification can also be used to incentivize making smaller, smarter choices — for example, rewarding saving over making an impulse buy.
The future of fintech is about more than just broadening access to the markets. It’s about making sure more individuals have access to the tools that can help improve their financial well-being—in the ways that suit their own circumstances and needs. The potential to act within their own set of individual priorities, with their long-term financial wellness in mind is much more empowering to a consumer than simply relying on short-term, high-risk investments.