Responsible Finance

Having just returned from a trip to Europe I wanted to share some thoughts on Responsible Finance, a term that appears to be gaining much traction of late.

A little earlier this year I was at a closed door symposium in Switzerland, where one of the topics for discussion was “Is the World’s current Financial System Fit for Purpose?” An interesting debate ensued where the was clearly a train of thought developing that perhaps the current system was not very fit, and that the banking profession, in particular, had lost a lot of credibility, and that probably an alternative was required. Islamic finance was seen as a viable alternative, but there were some issues with the “I” word. Responsible Finance was seen as a rallying cry to restore credibility and IF was seen as both relevant and a good fit under that banner.

Roll forward a month or so to the visit that I made to the Global Insurance Symposium in the USA, where once again on the topic of “Takaful – More similarities than differences (to Mutual Insurance)”, there was a natural reluctance from the audience to listen to the “I” word, but a great deal of attention paid when we started talking about Responsible Finance and re-establishing credibility with the Public at large.

Once again, last week, while in Belgium, working on an Executive Program for a likely launch in early December, the key theme that we decided upon to appeal to the potential audience was one of Responsible Finance. The feeling was that this title had much broader appeal and would allow us to introduce the values of IF in a much less confrontational way. As I have said often in this BLOG “You need to speak to the listening of the audience”

As some of you may be aware The Responsible Finance Institute has now been formed and will have its inaugural meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland at the end of August. This will be followed immediately by the Global Ethical Finance Forum, a two day conference to debate and discuss all aspects of Ethical and Responsible Finance. I am very much looking forward to this series.

As a dear friend of mine once said “Finance knows no religion!” Maybe the Responsible Finance vehicle will provide us with the opportunity to both Educate and to change Perceptions for the better. I, for one, sincerely hope so.

There is much to do and not a moment to lose.

By Daud Vicary Abdullah

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