Social finance 'needs a common voice'

Unity Trust Bank calls for new membership organisation

Social finance bodies should form a membership organisation to promote and discuss the future of the sector, a director of Unity Trust Bank has said.

"I think the time has come for the social investment sector to have a common forum and a common voice," said John Brooks, sales director of the bank. "I'm interested in finding out whether there is wider interest in this idea in the sector."

Brooks said he wanted to talk to other social investment bodies about how it could work.

"I'd be keen to hear from mainstream banks, specialist social banks, social investment brokers and anyone else who is presently working to develop the social investment space," he said.

Brooks said the recent consultation on the future of the proposed social investment wholesale bank showed the need for the sector to communicate better.

"I think the sector has operated in a very fragmented way," he said.

"During that conversation, there were a number of bodies talking to one another and trying to develop a consensus.

"There were many different views, but we should have been able to develop some middle ground and demonstrate to the policy-makers what the sector wanted."

He said that anyone interested in the concept of a social investment forum should contact

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