The Social Stock Exchange, an online portal that will publish details of social ventures that want investment, has been launched today.
The initiative, which is supported by the London Stock Exchange, has been launched with 12 listed member companies from industries such as recycling, clean technology and social and affordable housing.
The launch was announced by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, at the Social Impact Investment Conference in London, an initiative to promote social investment as part of the UK’s leadership of the G8, which holds its annual summit here later this month.
The stock exchange will not act as a trading platform where investments can be bought and sold, but as a shop window through which social investors can access information on publicly listed businesses.
The first members include the disability charity Scope, which issued £2m in bonds last year and has said it aims to release up to £20m worth.
The admission of a further 12 companies is pending as they go through the exchange’s three-stage admissions process. Members are required to be admitted to a regulated stock exchange and each one must produce an impact report before they are assessed by the exchange’s admissions panel, comprising leading social impact investment experts.
Speaking at the conference, Cameron said the first 12 member companies launched on the exchange were worth £500m. Another group of businesses are set to join in October and will add another £700m, he said.
"This is just the beginning," he said. "For years the London Stock Exchange has made London the home for private finance. Today London can cement its place as the home for social finance, too."
Pradeep Jethi, co-founder & chief executive of the exchange, said: "We believe organisations that place social and environmental aims at the core of their activities, while operating on robust revenue and growth models, are best equipped to generate the kind of positive impact that creates real change.
"Nobody can guarantee a return on capital – but the SSE can guarantee the social benefit and standards of every company it admits."