Recently I was asked to write a blog for The Big Property Listabout what ethical investing is all about.
It set me thinking, and I realised that although we talk about this all the time with our clients and contacts at My Property Mentor, Ive never actually written about what it means to us as a company, and why we take this stance.
Today I’m going to set that straight.
I was posed the following questions:
- Do ethics and property investment make easy bedfellows?
- Are there ethical dilemmas in property investment?
- What does it mean to be an ethical property investor?
To answer these properly will take much more than the short space allowed here, so I’m going to tell you how we choose to apply it to our business. But first, lets look at the dictionary definitions.
Dictionary definition of Ethical: mo ral principles, morally correct.
Dictionary definition of Morals: a persons standards or behavior, concerned with right and wrong.
These are the guiding principles which drive our business. I am often asked – “What is ethical property investing?” The three things is means to us are:
- Not getting involved with companies or individuals touting a ‘get rich quick’ methodology
- Teaching people the truth behind methods of investing- good and bad/ warts and all
- Being extremely careful who we link with – and by this I mean on any level-whether that is a text link out from us to another company or literally the people we choose to work with and for.
I won’t lie, it’s been a huge challenge keeping a moral compass within property investing. There are many times when you are tempted by bribes or incentives to be part of something questionable. But, our own stance is to connect with and help people who have the same ethics as ourselves. As a company we will never directly recommend anyone we have not worked with personally. That way, if they prove to be not what they seem, then at least it’s just us and not any clients of ours who loose money. If we are not completely comfortable with them then we don’t work with them.
There are a lot of what I like to think of as ‘smoke and mirrors’ marketers who will have you believe that all kinds of wonderous riches are to be had for little or no real input.
Our own code of ethics was developed over time because of the disgust we felt at the way property investing has been hijacked by marketing sharks who are really just chasing the quickest route to take a chunk out of your finances.
The advent of huge ‘property networking’ events, which are little more than sales drives, has made the whole scenario very distasteful. It still amazes me why so many folks get sucked in by them.
Inevitably, the latest band waggon to be jumping on is indeed the ‘ethical’ one. With many property related companies telling us how straight and upstanding they are, the vast majority of which really aren’t- they are easy to spot by looking deeper at the are linked with. It’s been a steep learning curve for us but one we are very glad to have made.
As a company, we have to be very good judges of people, and we spend a lot of time examining those we do business with before we do business. The higher your profile becomes, the more people are keen to be seen working with you, and this becomes especially true if you have an ethical and independent stance.
This in itself presents a challenge, we have had to find ways to say ‘ get lost’ politely! ( Not always easy-as those with poor reputations tend to be like a jack russell hanging on to a trouser leg!)
So back to the questions at the top of this blog.
” Do ethics make easy bedfellows” – no not really, it’s complicated but it’s also very rewarding in the long term.
“Are there ethical dilemmas in property investment?” You betcha! Every day we come across new challenges, but business is about challenge after all and we wouldn’t let that put us off.
“What does it mean to be an ‘ethical property investor?” It means having courage to stand up for how you believe business should be done and being prepared to weed out those who seek only to feather their own nest.
Really it’s very simple, we treat others fairly and with respect and we try to give a more balanced view of the good and bad points of investing via our blogs and connections so that the client can make a balanced informed decision.