At Chase de Vere, we want to ensure that we operate as a sustainable business. We believe that increased focus, transparency and positive action in areas relating to sustainability and our conduct as a responsible business and employer will become of increasing importance to our clients as well as our employees, who want to work for a company which is ‘doing the right things’.
There are a number of steps we have taken regarding our Environmental (E), Social (S) and Governance (G) impact and we have highlighted some of them below. This is a matter of high priority for our business and there is more that we are looking to do.
Our use of energy
All of the energy consumption in our offices is either 100% from green energy sources or, where we’re unable to do this, typically where offices are multi-tenancy and we can’t choose our own provider, we have Carbon Offset Certification in place.
When we make any future property decisions, green energy accreditation is one of the key criteria we will assess.
We closely scrutinise our suppliers to ensure they are acting responsibly with their use of energy, and we’re developing our procurement processes further to give additional consideration to environmental criteria when selecting suppliers in all areas of our business.
Reducing paper waste
We have been focused on reducing our use of paper, which means we also significantly reduce our waste. Furthermore, by using electronic means of exchanging documentation with colleagues and clients, we reduce our use of energy and our overall environmental footprint.
Our clients are able to enjoy an entirely paperless journey, as all of our own advice documents can now be sent, and signed, digitally, through our Personal Finance Portal. If you have yet to register for the Portal please speak with your Adviser, or you can register from the following link:
Our Portal also allows clients to access their portfolio valuations, and other information, 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week.
We have embedded paperless client files across our business and are working with third parties, such as investment companies, to reduce the amount of paperwork they require and create fully paperless options wherever possible.
We ensure that 100% of paper we dispose of by secure methods is sent for recycling and have initiated a programme to assess the environmental credentials of all paper products that we use.
We’re looking closely at other office waste. We have recycling facilities in all of our offices and use recycling services for items such as printer cartridges.
Reducing business and commuting travel
Previously all of our employees travelled into our offices to work, our Advisers travelled to all of their client meetings, sometimes over significant distances, and our employees would often travel long distances to attend internal meetings in different offices.
We have introduced video meetings, which have very quickly become a core part of our client proposition and which provide an alternative to traditional business travel. The use of video meetings, in combination with face-to-face meetings, has been welcomed by many of our clients.
We use video meetings as the default way to hold internal meetings, particularly if attendees work in different offices or would have to travel a long distance.
We have introduced hybrid working for most of our employees. This means they can benefit from the best of both worlds, spending some time working in the office and some time working from home, while also significantly reducing the amount of time they spend commuting.
Our key priorities throughout the pandemic were the safety and wellbeing of our employees, alongside providing support and ongoing services for our clients.
We followed government guidelines, meaning that virtually all of our employees were working from home. We didn’t furlough any employees and provided additional personal support for a number of colleagues who needed it during those challenging times.
We run a number of initiatives to support the health and wellbeing of our employees, including offering an Employee Assistance Programme, Cycle to Work Scheme and gym memberships through our flexible benefits.
All of our managers have wellbeing-focussed leadership training, and we have other activities planned, including launching a wellbeing programme for our employees, mental health awareness initiatives and we will shortly be launching a policy which supports employees who wish to undertake volunteering activities.
The results of our most recent employee engagement survey showed 91% of employees said that they have a high level of trust in their direct managers, 89% said they have interesting and challenging work and 83% are proud to work for Chase de Vere and would recommend it as a good place to work.
Learning and Development
We invest significantly in the learning and development of our employees. We provide them with access to our Development and Training teams, fund and support them taking professional qualifications, and actively encourage employees to progress their careers within Chase de Vere.
We arrange ongoing external training, including using Dale Carnegie and Serial Trainer 7, and wellbeing focussed leadership skills for all managers, which in turn means they’re better able to develop and support their teams.
We are advocates of apprenticeships. In addition, as part of the government’s apprenticeship scheme, we have a surplus levy which we have agreed to donate, at our cost, to help deserving organisations and charities which wouldn’t ordinarily benefit from the scheme.
We are committed to improving diversity across all levels of our business. While we have benefited from a diverse mix of people joining our company, have broad representation within key leadership roles, and have had fantastic success at the Women in Financial Advice Awards, we will continue to explore how we can create an inclusive and diverse environment.
We want to play an important role in encouraging and supporting more people, from all backgrounds, to forge successful careers in our industry and we will also engage with our employees to get their feedback, ideas and general thoughts.
We support these activities by having a Charity Co-ordinator, assisted by Charity Champions based in our offices around the country. Our Charity Champions share ideas with each other and organise local fundraising, while helping our Charity Co-ordinator with national initiatives.
Our most recent activity involved 45 of our employees taking part in the Yorkshire 3-Peaks challenge on 21 May 2022. Our employees walked the 24-mile route and we raised over £8,500 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
We have management structures in place to manage our corporate governance, and these are supplemented by regular monitoring and audits.
We operate a number of committees, comprised of senior management and technical experts, to ensure appropriate oversight of systems and controls across the business. This includes our Executive Committee, which has responsibility for the day-to-day running and compliance of our business, our Investment Committee, which provides challenge and oversight to all investment decisions, our Business Standards Group, which is responsible for ensuring financial advice standards are robust, and our Risk Management Committee, which provides oversight for the identification and management of all risks across our business.
We ensure that all employees are suitably trained and that they have the capability and necessary permissions and authorisations to perform their roles.
Our parent company is the Swiss Life Group. Swiss Life is a secure and supportive parent, founded in 1857 with a Standard & Poor’s rating of A+ and generating a net profit of 1.3 billion Swiss francs in 2021. Having this backing for our business reduces ongoing risks for our stakeholders.
ESG investing for our clients
We are also supporting sustainability through our clients’ investments. We believe in the long-term merits of ESG investing and we offer a full range of ESG and Ethical investment solutions, on both a discretionary and advisory basis.
We are also members of the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF). This Association promotes and supports responsible investments that advance sustainable economic development, enhance quality of life and safeguard the environment.
Please speak with your Adviser if you would like to find out more about ESG or Ethical investing.
The value of your investments can go down as well as up, so you could get back less than you invested.