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Harry and Meghan get into sustainable investing with fintech partnership

  • >> Andrew Ross Sorkin, The New York Times
    Published: 2021-10-13 10:11:04 BdST

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Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle speak at the 2021 Global Citizen Live concert at Central Park in New York, US, September 25, 2021. REUTERS

Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, are getting into the investment business. They are joining Ethic, a fintech asset manager in the fast-growing environmental, social and governance space, as “impact partners” and investors. Ethic has $1.3 billion under management and creates separately managed accounts to invest in social responsibility themes.

The couple could attract more attention to sustainable investing. Harry and Meghan can make ESG investing part of pop culture in a way that, say, BlackRock’s Larry Fink cannot. “From the world I come from, you don’t talk about investing, right?” Meghan told DealBook in a joint interview with Harry. “You don’t have the luxury to invest. That sounds so fancy.”

“My husband has been saying for years, ‘Gosh, don’t you wish there was a place where if your values were aligned like this, you could put your money to that same sort of thing?’” Meghan said. They were introduced to Ethic by friends, she said.

Harry and Meghan said they hoped that their involvement would help democratize investing, making people — especially younger people — more deliberate in their choices and conscious of investing in sustainable companies. “You already have the younger generation voting with their dollars and their pounds, you know, all over the world when it comes to brands they select and choose from,” Harry said, suggesting it was a natural extension to do the same with investments.

Ethic was founded in 2015 and has tripled assets under management in the past year, Doug Scott, a founder of the company, said. Ethic runs screens on companies and sectors based on social responsibility criteria, including racial justice, climate and labour issues. Its user interface has more in common with the likes of Robinhood than traditional financial sites, and it has developed a new platform, “Sustainability for Everyone,” which scores a person’s portfolio along different dimensions.

The move is the couple’s latest corporate partnership since relocating to the United States. Harry and Meghan moved to Los Angeles last year and later gave up official royal family duties. Seeking financial independence, they have signed production deals with Netflix and Spotify. Harry also recently produced a documentary series about mental health for Apple TV+ in connection with Oprah Winfrey and is writing a memoir.