For a large proportion of investors, core social values are as important for investment choice as the potential return, according to the latest research by Foresters Friendly Society.

The research which surveyed 2,000 adults (undertaken by Atomik) found that 49% rate principles such as reliability, trustworthiness and treating customers fairly are all important traits of financial services providers.

In relation to savings products for their children, a quarter (27%) stated they would accept a lower return on their investment with a provider that demonstrates values they identify with. Just 18% of respondents don’t take corporate values into account when saving for their children.

Average subscriptions to Adult ISA accounts

Average subscriptions to Adult ISA accounts

“Awareness and preference of mutual and friendly societies proves benefits that align with people’s values stand the test of time,” said Foresters Friendly Society chief executive Paul Osborn.

“While fund performance remains important, being reliable and trustworthy is essential and sits at the core of mutual and friendly societies, and these values clearly resonate in today’s world.”

For 31% of adults, selecting an ethical investment provider would be their top choice, as it would for 24% when choosing a mutual or friendly society.

On gender, women are more likely to consider choosing an ethical investment provider than men – and the gap grows as they get older.

Ultimately potential for growth and guaranteed returns are key principles for a large proportion of the respondents.

“Securing the financial future of the younger generation is key and being savvy about the investment vehicles out there makes this process smoother,” adds Osborn.

“For example, the Junior ISA offers a simple, tax-efficient way to invest for your offspring’s’ tomorrow. Investing early is a great way to give them a financial helping hand for when the time comes for them to make those big life decisions.”

Kevin Reed is one of the UK’s most senior accounting and finance journalists. He is a former editor of Accountancy Age and Financial Director, and writes regularly on corporate and professional services governance.

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Further reading on this topic:

Campaign looks to ‘empower’ women to make ethical investment choices