22.4.2020 Jo Iwasaki

Whatever you are, act well your part

It is a long and never-ending race
Transparency in asset management: kill the hidden fee bogeyman

I joined HCP a little over a year ago because it is a B Corp. I had moved from the UK to Finland for personal reasons and was wondering what opportunities might be out there.

One thing was clear in my mind – I wanted to work for a company with a clearly stated aim to positively contribute to society. Realistically speaking, no company is perfect and everyone has a scope for improvement. But stating to the world outside that the intention to be better takes a little more than a gesture.

The criteria I used was the B Corp certification. I knew the concept, having interviewed one of its founding fathers several years ago. When I checked the list of B Corps in Finland – it was HCP that came up, and no other.

Looking back, it is both a surprise and delight that I ended up with HCP. The company is small in size and growing, which is not necessarily unique among B Corps. But it caught my attention that HCP is an asset manager.

How can an asset manager contribute to society?

This is, in fact, a quest that the company has pursued and continues to do today. In contrast with major institutional investors or the largest asset managers, our abilities in influencing investees is extremely limited. We are not a specialist in ESG start-ups. So what can we do?

The bottom line to me is that anyone – everyone – in society has a role to play, however local, however small. It is a matter of actually doing what we can, and be ready to listen to others what else and how we can do better. And this involves a conversation.

HCP’s Sustainability Report did exactly that in my case. After the first meeting with the HCP team, which was followed by a number of discussions, Tommi the CEO handed me over HCP Sustainability Report 2017. Leafing through the booklet with a pink cover illustration by painter Sini Kunnas (#HCPSPIRIT resident artist) I was both amused and intrigued.

Alongside building a transparent relationship with institutional and retail investors, HCP has been collaborating with artists, musicians, and athletes. They all have their specific needs that go beyond investment. We meet them, discuss their projects, and share our knowledge and experience. We join forces to help them make their ideas come true. (Read more about #HCPSPIRIT projects here.)

What else can we do? We have been collaborating with universities and business schools to help them gain from diverse viewpoints. We work on original topics, and one of which is the Nordic KPI project – a study on the tax and other payments through which companies contribute to the wellbeing of society.

All these are little steps to make society a better place than today. And when every one of us lives with the idea that we all have a role to play, the world indeed will be a better place. We are all work in progress: our B Corp certification in 2017 was 98.3 out of 200 (don’t worry, the pass mark was 80). We know there is a lot more we can do, and that’s why it is so important that we continue our dialogue.

HCP is organising an afternoon event to introduce the SDG Action Manager that B Corp developed in association with Global Compact. The event on 7 May is open to all, B Corp or else. If you are interested, please let us know for participation details or see the event page.

Just like John Allan, a 19th-century architect, famously said: “what e’er thou art, act well thy part”.

It is a long and never-ending race
Transparency in asset management: kill the hidden fee bogeyman

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