News & Thoughts

If social investment was the River Thames

Changing the course of history! This is a bold declaration, some may even say an assumption, but it is not completely unfounded when talking about social impact investment. Let me explain…

 FCA, IFP, Big Society Capital, Financial advisers, investment providers, Social Enterprise UK, Cabinet Office, HM Treasury, HMRC, Social impact investment


Take the River Thames for example. The Thames is majestic. In some ways, it defines London. However, if you trace the Thames to its source, it is far from majestic with approximately 38 main tributaries. These tributaries at their source in places such as Wiltshire, and Hertfordshire are unaware that they are on their way to becoming part of something bigger, something world-famous. But what may seem small in isolation, when joined together, swell the River and allow it to flow faster.

The same is true of social impact investment. Actors such as the FCA, Big Society Capital and the financial advice community represent vital tributaries that all have a role to play in the success and momentum of the sector as a whole. These actors may feel isolated, void of momentum, until the dialogue slowly begins to develop between these components. When this starts to happen, as the social investment river begins to swell, we will see real change.

A swelling river, flowing faster, faster has a profound effect on its landscape. It slowly erodes solid, immovable rock that seemed it would remain unchanged forever. We can already see tributaries in the social investment sector joining together to create momentum. It will be interesting to see how this ‘river’ can impact the landscape and make its mark, thereby changing the course of history.