The 2020 F&C Investment Trust Lecture

The Future: It’s Our Responsibility

As the stewards of capital of F&C Investment Trust, we are extremely proud of our long heritage since our establishment as the world’s oldest collective investment scheme. But we are even more proud of our continuing innovation through education, and so following on from the success of our inaugural lecture to celebrate 150 years of the Trust in 2018, we are excited to host the second F&C Investment Trust lecture – the future: it’s our responsibility.

We brought together three experts in their fields of innovation.

Dr Hannah Fry

Dr Hannah Fry, Associate Professor of mathematics at University College London, specialises in algorithmic models and how these can be applied to human behaviour. As a regular presenter on BBC radio and having presented the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures 2019, Hannah is adept at explaining complex ideas in an engaging and digestible way.

In her talk, Hannah explains why the common rhetoric of ‘humans versus machines’ is the wrong way to approach the inexorable rise of artificial intelligence. Although we can often be wary of machines taking over, we also have the tendency to put blind faith in them (think of all those disastrous sat nav stories!). As much as it is an overreaction to be scared of technology, we also need to acknowledge that we can’t always be trusted to know when machines have got it wrong. Hannah argues that the best way forward is to see the future of technology as a partnership between humans and machines.

Dr Hannah Fry - 2020 FC Investment Trust Lecture
Hannah Fry joined us at the F&C Investment Trust Lecture, 'The future: it's our responsibility', to discuss how we can harness technology to facilitate positive change.

Alastair Fothergill

Alastair Fothergill is the Series Producer of The Blue Planet and creator of Our Planet on Netflix. Alastair has enjoyed a close working relationship with Sir David Attenborough over many decades and seen first-hand the devastating effect that climate change is having on our planet.

2020 is a critical year for our planet. The 2020 UN Biodiversity Conference and the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference are key gatherings where decisions will be made that we will have to live with for decades to come. Biodiversity is not just a nice to have, it is a must-have to ensure the health of the planet that we all share. That’s why Alastair has chosen 2020 to release his film, David Attenborough: A Life on This Planet, charting David’s 65-year broadcasting career and highlighting over this time frame just how much damage has been done to our planet and why we need to act now to reverse this. Never has it been so important to understand how the natural world works, and how to help it.

Alastair Fothergill - 2020 F&C Investment Trust Lecture
Alastair Fothergill joined us at the F&C Investment Trust Lecture, 'The future: it's our responsibility', to discuss taking responsibility for the world we live in.

Vicki Bakhshi

Vicki Bakhshi, Director in the Responsible Investment team at BMO Global Asset Management, leads on our engagement with the companies that we invest in. Vicki’s work not only shapes the way we invest sustainably at BMO; her collaboration with other investors has helped to enact change for the better both at investee companies and at policy level.

F&C Investment Trust has witnessed a century and a half of change: space travel, the invention of computers, and much more. But the current pace of change – the rise of technology and the critical impact of climate change on the environment – is something that has not been experienced before. Both have huge implications for our lives, but they also have huge implications both on and from the financial world. As investors, we have the ability, and the responsibility, to make a difference. We have choices. We can choose which companies we invest in, and we can use our power as shareholders to press for change for the better. This is not simply choosing to divest from companies that do not have sustainable products or practices; most businesses are not all good or all bad. The best use of our power as shareholders is to target the decision makers, the Boards of the companies, to make real change happen. As investors, we can help shape a better future.

Vicki Bakhshi - 2020 FC Investment Trust Lecture



Let’s talk about risk

Past performance should not be seen as an indication of future performance. The value of investments and income derived from them can go down as well as up as a result of market or currency movements and investors may not get back the original amount invested.

If you feel you need specific investment advice that takes your individual circumstances fully into account, please talk to a financial adviser.

Views and opinions have been arrived at by BMO and should not be considered to be a recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell any companies that may be mentioned. 

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