Good news for ethical consumers

There's good news for ethical consumers as Manchester–based ethical financial investment specialists Gaeia join forces with Barchester Green, following an acquisition by Gaeia's parent company, Castlefield Capital Ltd. Barchester Green, the UK's longest-established socially responsible and environmental specialists are joining the Castlefield family on 1 June 2014. Olivia Bowen, a Director of Gaeia, who have been at the forefront of ethical investment for the past 21 years said: "I'm delighted that Castlefield's commitment to ethical financial advice and investment continues to grow. We believe that together, Gaeia and Barchester Green will form the largest ethical and environmental advisory team in the UK and, as market leaders, will be in a strong position to promote and serve the increasing consumer demand for responsible investment. Our combined talents will provide a wealth of knowledge and an understanding of ethical investment that won't be rivalled." Over £11 billion is currently invested in Britain's sustainable and ethical retail funds, according to EIRIS, the sustainable investment research specialists. Ethical funds have outperformed non-ethical funds in the last three years, up 36% on average compared with 31% for the average non-ethical fund, according to and there is compelling evidence, according to a Deutsche Bank report, that sustainable investing is good for investors and for companies. It will be business as usual for both advisory teams, who will continue to work from their separate bases in Manchester and Salisbury. Castlefield is an employee owned business managed for the benefit of current and future generations of clients and employees, rather than for the short-term gains of any individual shareholder. "This acquisition is good news for our existing clients, who will have access to even more specialist advice and expertise" said Castlefield CEO John Eckersley, "but, it is also good news for those consumers who are looking for responsible investment advice. Together, both teams will have a greater impact and will be able to give the ethical investment sector a higher profile and a stronger voice. It will strengthen our ability to engage with ethical consumers and make it easier for them to access an alternative to traditional financial advice. There is a growing community who care about responsible business practices, support Fair Trade and campaign for better working conditions. As an employee-owned business ourselves, we are interested, not only in growing our own business, but also in promoting and championing the growth of the responsible investment sector as a whole." Jonathon Clark, Chairman of Barchester Green Investment added: "We are very pleased to become part of Castlefield and anticipate that 'the whole will be more than the sum of its parts!' A long term share structure which maintains our commitment to employee owned business will be welcomed by our clients, advisers and employees – stability is an invaluable attribute in the financial services sector where there has been so much turbulence in recent years."