BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 06 Feb '18

Triodos Bank has become the first UK bank to launch its own crowdfunding platform, allowing direct investment in good causes

Triodos Bank, a global pioneer of sustainable banking, has become the first bank in the UK to launch its own crowdfunding platform. The platform offers a range of crowdfunding opportunities for people to invest directly in equity or bonds issued by organisations delivering positive social and environmental impacts.

The crowdfunding platform follows hot on the heels of the new Triodos personal current account – the most sustainable personal current account ever brought to the UK market – launched in 2017. Triodos now has a full product offering ranging from everyday banking and savings to socially responsible investing and three different ISA products.

Tax-free interest

The bonds are eligible to be held in the Innovative Finance ISA, allowing investors to receive the interest they earn on these investments tax-free.

People can invest as little as £500 – some offers will have lower investment minimums – in established charities or businesses that have been extensively screened by Triodos for social and environmental impact, the viability of their business model and the credibility of the management team.

‘Everyday investors can make a positive choice to shape the world they want to live in. In that sense money can be a hugely powerful form of democracy if invested directly into renewable energy, social housing, charities or social enterprises. Social investment needs to be more accessible to UK investors, who increasingly recognise the power of money to create change.’

BEVIS WATTS
Managing director of Triodos Bank UK

Responding to demand

The platform is launching with three bond offers, with interest rates ranging from 5-7%. We’ll keep you updated on the investment opportunities so watch this space.

The Innovative Finance ISA is available within the current £20,000 personal allowance, alongside cash and stocks and shares ISAs. As with all investments, capital is at risk.

‘We’ve been crowdfunding since before it became a well-known term’, says Bevis Watts, Managing director of Triodos Bank UK. ‘With the new Triodos Crowdfunding platform we’re recognising the huge potential of crowdfunding and responding to demand for Innovative Finance ISAs. Investors are looking for opportunities that allow them to support progressive companies, social enterprises and charities making a positive impact, while also receiving good long-term returns.’

£130m raised for ethical causes

Triodos Bank already has an excellent track record in raising finance for social and environmental organisations and in the last 15 years has raised more than £130 million to fund over 50 impact projects.

In 2003, Triodos successfully raised the first charity bond in the UK for Golden Lane Housing, one of the UK’s leading supported housing landlords for people with a learning disability. In 2013, a further £10 million was successfully raised including a refinancing of the 2003 bond where over 40% of bondholders re-invested.

In recognition of these huge successes in ethical banking, Triodos Bank’s Hugh Davies was awarded with the 2017 P.E.A. Award for Money.

‘Triodos has a long history of leading the way in social impact investment in the UK, helping to improve people’s lives and their environment. We commend their plans to launch a crowdfunding platform using the Innovative Finance ISA, to enable more individuals to invest in projects that tackle the causes they care about.’

JEREMY ROGERS
Chief investment officer at Big Society Capital

Positive investment

The UK has seen significant growth in impact investing over recent years, with 19.5 million people stating an interest in positive investment. The UK’s alternative finance market covering all peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding is now valued at £4.6 billion – a year-on-year increase of 43%.

‘To tackle the big issues we face today we need to inspire investors to support progressive and pioneering businesses. We know the interest is there and, having seen the crowdfunding sector maturing in recent years, now feels like the perfect time to increase our presence in the ethical crowdfunding market. It aligns with our mission at Triodos Bank to make money work for positive social, environmental and cultural change.’

DAN HIRD
Head of corporate finance at Triodos Bank