Some of the companies that Meghan and Harry-backed ‘sustainable’ Wall Street firm has investments in
The parent company of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News
A Houston-based company engaged in exploration, development and acquisition of oil and natural gas in the Gulf of Mexico
The Massachusetts-based group is the second largest U.S. defense contractor and the second largest in the world
A Canadian company that operates gold mines in Namibia, Mali and the Phillipines
OIL STS INTL INC
An American multinational corporation providing services to oil and gas companies.
BAKER HUGHES COMPANY
One of the world’s largest oil field services companies
ALASKA AIR GROUP INC
Group owns Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air and ground handling company, McGee Air Services.
GENERAL MTRS CO
One of the world’s biggest motor companies including Chevrolet, Buick, GMC & Cadillac
ONE GAS INC
Provides natural gas distribution services to more than 2 million customers in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas.
NATIONAL FUEL GAS CO
Distributes and transports natural gas to hundreds of thousands of customers in Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania.
HONDA MOTOR LTD
Leading Japanese manufacturer of motorcycles and a major producer of automobiles for the world market
TOYOTA MOTOR CORP
Toyota is one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the world, producing about 10 million vehicles per year.
ATMOS ENERGY CORP
Atmos Energy Corporation, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, is one of the United States’ largest natural-gas-only distributors
SEC filings from August also reveal that Ethic has ploughed millions of dollars into oil, gas, mining companies, airlines, as well as firms that so-called ethical investment guides rate poorly including Amazon and the owners of Boots the chemists.
Among the investments are $216,000 worth of shares in Raytheon which boasts that its Paveway laser guided bombs made up more than half the ordinance dropped on Iraq during the American invasion.
Ethic has defended itself against charges of hypocrisy despite its branding that leans heavily on the language of left-wing political activism on issues such as climate change and fighting global poverty.
It claims it is different from other ‘ethical’ investment funds because it lets customers choose their political priorities for investments and provides them with custom portfolios to match.
A spokeswoman provided the example of a customer whose primary concern is ‘poverty’ – saying ‘of course certain pharmaceutical companies would be flagged for removal (and they are for many of our clients due to drug pricing issues).’
But some of the holdings among its $1.3bn under management are in sharp contrast with the Sussexes’ green campaigning, with Harry writing in the Washington Post just today that firms must stop ‘pillaging’ Africa for oil in countries such as Botswana where he and Meghan had ‘found sanctuary’.
Today royal expert Penny Junor said their backing of Ethic could mean ‘life is going to be very difficult for Meghan and Harry’, adding it is ‘asking for trouble’ and ‘setting themselves up for a fall’.
Announcing their role as ‘chief impact officers’ for Ethic, the couple said that they want to ‘rethink the nature of investing to help solve the global issues we all face’.
But amid claims the stocks make them and the company given royal approval appear hypocritical, a spokesman for Ethic insisted their job is to create an investment portfolio based on what their customer wants – not their own ethics.
This is despite the Wall Street firm boasting that it creates ‘personalized sustainability solutions to help investors transition money toward companies that treat people and the planet with respect’.
Ethic has bought $539,000 worth of shares in Fox Corp – part of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire that includes Fox News – the bogeyman of American left whose presenters have been critical of the Sussexes and their treatment of the Royal Family.
Harry complained in January of this year about a ‘Murdoch newspaper’ and its coverage of he and Meghan’s departure from social media.
Tucker Carlson famously calls Harry ‘Prince whatever his name is’ and Meghan Markle: ‘His angry wife in Los Angeles.’
While in May star host Sean Hannity called out Prince Harry after he infuriated many Americans by calling the First Amendment ‘bonkers’. He said: ‘I have a message for Harry, who is now attacking one of America’s most sacred rights, the freedom of speech: Harry, we really don’t need you coming from England to give us lectures on the First Amendment’.
The investment may be a shock to Harry, who has accused News Corp’s newspapers of spreading fake news about him and Meghan and sued Mr Murdoch’s British tabloid The Sun during the phone hacking scandal.
The Duke of Sussex’s plethora of new jobs also includes a role at Aspen Institute’s Commission on Information Disorder – a group designed to fight misinformation also backed by Kathryn Murdoch, the wife of Rupert Murdoch’s son James, who resigned from his father’s media empire last year blaming his own growing discomfort over the ‘toxicity’ of Fox News.
Ethic’s clients also hold stock in Raytheon, which makes billions a year in weapons sales and just last month tested its latest hypersonic missile, capable of speeds faster than five times the speed of sound and dubbed ‘a death sentence’ for anything it strikes.
Raytheon makes Paveway laser guided bombs that the company says are’ precision-guided weapons used in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Unified Protector’, Sidewinder missiles and a host of other munitions.
Also among the holdings are small amounts of shares in Gulf of Mexico oil exploration company W&T Offshore and mining company B2Gold that operates gold mines in Namibia and Mali.
Ethic holds shares in both Amazon and Walgreens, owners of high street chemist Boots, both of which scored 0 points out of 15 for ethical values, according to British-based Ethical Consumer magazine.
Many other well-known firms fared little better against the strict parameters covering environmental impact, human rights and social justice, set by Ethical Consumer.
The organisation has called for a complete boycott against Amazon since 2012 for its ‘outrageous tax avoidance’. It also criticised the company in July 2021 over its alleged poor treatment of Chinese workers as well as and policies on toxic chemicals in clothing and electronics.
Walgreens Boots Alliance’s poor score was allegedly down to its environmental reporting, its policy on sale of tobacco in its shops in the US and its policy on the use of toxic chemicals, in the Ethical Consumer report published in February 2020.
Coffee giant Starbucks managed an ‘ethiscore’ of 1 out of a possible 15, according to Ethical Consumer. Their critcisms, published in October 2018, included the sale of ‘factory farmed animal products’, ‘excessive’ directors’ pay and concerns over ‘tax avoidance’ as the company had subsidiaries in areas considered tax havens such as Singapore.
Spanish-owned High Street Bank Santander scored 3.5 out of 15 in February 2021 and was marked down for itself holding shares in many companies criticised over their poor showing on ethical investment, as well as backing criticised fossil-fuel extraction projects in south America and elsewhere.
Meghan and Harry are becoming ‘impact partners’ and investors at sustainable investing firm Ethic. The co-founders of Ethic, Johny Mair (pictured left) and Jay Lipman, say they ‘love hippies’ to invest with them, because the team consider themselves hippies too. Today more revelations about the shares they buy for customers emerged
Ethic was founded in 2015 by Briton Jay Lipman and Australian friends Doug Scott and Johny Mair (pictured left to right). All three worked investment banking, including funds investing in oil, before setting up their $1.3billion fund in New York
The top 50 stock holdings held by Ethics’ 1,000 wealthy clients
APPLE INC $45m
MICROSOFT CORP $40m
ALPHABET INC $21m
NVIDIA CORPORATION $10m
UNITEDHEALTH GROUP INC $9m
HOME DEPOT INC $8m
ADOBE SYSTEMS $8m
FACEBOOK INC $6.9m
MERCK & CO $6m
AT&T INC $6m
DANAHER CORPORATION $6m
THERMO FISHER SCIENTIFIC INC $5,8m
BROADCOM INC $5,6m
CISCO SYS INC $5,5m
SALESFORCE COM INC $5,4m
BANK OF AMERICA CORP $5m
AMGEN INC $4,8m
AMERICAN EXPRESS $4,4m
MONDELEZ INTL $4,3m
APPLIED MATLS INC $4,3m
INTUITIVE SURGICAL INC $4,2m
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHS $4,1m
QUALCOMM INC $3,9m
PRUDENTIAL FINL INC $3,9m
EMERSON ELEC CO $3,8m
ORACLE CORP $3,7m
PNC FINL SVCS GROUP INC $3,7m
S&P GLOBAL INC $3,6m
MORGAN STANLEY $3,6m
CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS INC $3,5m
LAUDER ESTEE COS INC $3,5m
DEERE & CO $3,5m
ZOETIS INC $3,5m
SHERWIN WILLIAMS CO $3,4m
TARGET CORP $3,4m
GILEAD SCIENCES INC $3,4m
SCHWAB CHARLES CORP $3,3m
Car giant General Motors meanwhile rated a 4.5, but was criticised by Ethical Consumer in 2018 for dealing with oppressive regimes through its subsidiaries and a ‘poor’ policy on supply chain management.
Drinks giant Diageo (from whisky to Guinness) scored 5.5, but received criticism in a 2021 report for its ‘excessive’ pay for directors and a previous £107m payment it had to make to HMRC under a crackdown on tax avoidance by multinationals.
Make-up multinational Estee Lauder also scored 5.5, but came under fire in a 2020 report for its supply chain management and for selling its brands in countries where animal testing on cosmetics or their ingredients is required by law.
Ford Motor Co. scored 6.5 in 2018 and was marked down for its ‘excessive’ remuneration of directors and the possible use of tax avoidance as some of its subsidiaries were based in tax havens.
The beer giant behind brands such as Carling and Miller, Molson Coors achieved 6.5 out of 15 on the ethiscore in 2021 and was marked down for an allegedly poor policy on carbon management and reporting, as well as being on a New York Times list of the 30 most profitable US companies that paid no federal income taxes in 2018.
Honda Motor Co rated a 7.0 in 2018, but was criticised for operating in oppressive regimes, and for its policies on conflict minerals and supply chain management.
Ethic’s rich clients own tens of millions of dollars of shares in Twitter, Facebook and YouTube’s owner Google despite the couple decrying the ‘hate’ they have encountered online and their personal crusade against fake news.
Ethic, where Harry and Meghan are ‘impact partners’, has pumped clients’ money into the world’s largest social media platforms alongside oil companies and the biggest corporations in America as part of its business managing $1.3billion of investments for around 1,000 wealthy clients.
The New York-based business exists as part of a growing trend in the financial world for ‘ethical’ investments that are marketed to provide clients with a clear conscience and social media-friendly talking point, as well as a healthy return on their stake.
The financial firm boasts that it creates ‘personalized sustainability solutions to help investors transition money toward companies that treat people and the planet with respect’.
But the company’s financial filings reveal a long list of investments in American corporate giants, similar to the holdings of a traditional investment portfolio. These reveal that the $1.3billion fund has $6.9million in Facebook shares, a $2million investment in Twitter and $32million stake in Alphabet, the parent company of Google and YouTube.
The Prince said using social media has a ‘high cost’ and condemned the ‘lawless space’ it created in a column in August, while in 2020 they were reported to be working with a pressure group called Stop Profit For Hate that was organising a Facebook advertising boycott.
They also removed all their social media profiles after the Duchess of Sussex described how she struggled with the ‘almost unsurvivable’ toll of internet trolling.
Ethic’s filings with the US Securities and Exchange commission shows that it manages stock worth up to $45million in Apple and millions of dollars more in corporates including Microsoft, Amazon, Coca Cola, Visa, Nike, and Tesla.
The fund hold shares in multiple oil and gas companies, several airlines and many of the world’s biggest automotive manufacturers including General Motors, Honda and Toyota – despite Harry and Meghan’s green campaigning.
There are also $4million of shares in US food giant Mondelez, the owner of Cadbury’s, who were accused in 2018 of destroying tens of thousands of hectares of orangutan rain forest habitat because of their palm oil suppliers. The Sussexes have both campaigned on forest conservation and the protection of endangered species.
They also have shares in the pharmaceutical giants producing the world’s Covid-19 vaccines, who Harry and Meghan believe should give up the patents on their jabs.
Ethic says that its allows its customers to choose the ethical cause that are important to them, and creates an investment portfolio based on the customer’s ethics, not theirs.
But experts told MailOnline that ‘the jury is out’ on the ethics of some of the companies Ethic has invested in. Market expert Becky O’Connor, Head of Pensions at Interactive Investor, said: ‘Generally speaking, you wouldn’t expect to find fossil fuels of any kind in an investment portfolio that is pure positive impact’.
She added that some so-called ethical funds sometimes invest in controversial companies that promise to go green, as activist shareholders, but there are questions about ‘whether it is leading to change fast enough’, Ms O’Connor said.
Ethic boasts that it creates ‘personalized sustainability solutions to help investors transition money toward companies that treat people and the planet with respect’. And the Sussexes revealed on Tuesday they invested in the New York fund, declaring ‘when we invest in each other we change the world’ and telling the world their involvement ‘is one of the ways we put our values in action’.
Harry and Meghan are investing their own money in Ethic, and are also reportedly shareholders, despite both of them previously criticising social media firms the investment firm has bought shares in.
An Ethic spokesman said: ‘ We allow our clients to choose the environmental, social and governance issues that are most important to them and then help them create custom portfolios based on their preferences—not ours. Your personal portfolio might look different from your family members’ or friends’ that prioritize different things.
‘If you indicated something like poverty as a primary concern, of course certain pharmaceutical companies would be flagged for removal (and they are for many of our clients due to drug pricing issues).’
The Duke of Sussex’s plethora of new jobs also includes a role at Aspen Institute’s Commission on Information Disorder – a group designed to fight misinformation – but Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have all been accused of proliferating disinformation and ‘fake news’.
The couple have not said how much cash they have personally put into Ethic to manage their portfolio, which the the company tailors to each individual investor meaning that the Sussexes are unlikely to have shares in Facebook. But if they have not chosen to opt out of owning certain companies, it could mean that Harry and Meghan have stakes in firms they have repeatedly denounced.
MailOnline has approached the Sussexes and Ethic for comment.
It has also been revealed that the Ethic fund, founded by a British Prince Harry lookalike former public schoolboy with two fellow ‘hippies’, has pumped cash into all the major pharmaceutical companies that develop Covid-19 jabs. This includes $747,000 in Pfizer shares, $1.6million invested in AstraZeneca, $2.2million in Novartis, $2.5million in Johnson & Johnson, $1.6million in Sanofi and $760,000 in GlaxoSmithKline.
This is despite Harry slamming ‘ultra wealthy pharmaceutical companies’ for ‘not sharing the recipes’ and urging them to give up patents to allow poorer countries to vaccinate their population in a series of critical comments made as recently as a fortnight ago.
British Prince Harry lookalike who wants fellow ‘hippies’ to invest in his ‘ethical’ $1.3billion fund founded with Australian friends who worked for Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan
Ethic was co-founded by Briton Jay Lipman, who studied at the University of Edinburgh before moving to California. He says Ethics’ goal is to ‘mainstream sustainable investing’ and clients will make just as much money as people putting money into traditional portfolios including oil and tobacco companies, for example
Ethic was founded in 2015 by Briton Jay Lipman, a former Deutsche Bank executive who promises customers their cash only
His co-founders are Australians Doug Scott and Johny Mair, who he is understood to have met in the US, where he studied at UCLA after graduating from the University of Edinburgh.
Educated at a school outside London, he took a gap year and booked a one-way flight to Tanzania to work in an orphanage.
Unfortunately he almost immediately caught malaria and had to come home to England, which he says encouraged him to go into ethical banking.
After working for Deutsche Bank – he then set up Ethic with Scott and Mair.
He said: ‘I realised there is little I can do by myself to change things significantly, but a lot I could do by changing systems’.
Johny Mair, an Australian moved to London to work for Deutsche Bank and then to New York before taking a job at JP Morgan
Before ethic, Lipman created Simplifund with Doug Scott, described as a ‘a data-driven diversification tool for wealth advisers’, but the company’s Twitter feed appears inactive since 2015.
Prior to that, even while at UCLA, Lipman’s entrepreneurial instincts came to the fore, but ran aground when, as a non-American citizen, he came up against the strict US immigration system..
He says on one website profile: ‘Whilst at college (2011), I co-founded Dormstormer.com. The first e-commerce platform exclusively for college students. I had to leave the company after I failed to get a visa for it, taking a job/visa in Investment banking in NYC.
‘A visa story I am sure you know all too well.’
Lipman left Epsom College in 2007, where it is thought he was not a boarder, as his parents, businessman David and Marilyn live locally.
Co-founder Doug Scott (left with Jay) went to the University of Melbourne before entering world of investment banking, specifically with oil and gas
After spending his first year at Edinburgh University studying Economics and Political Economy, he transferred for his second year to UCLA. According to Epsom College’s website, he helped forge a rugby link between the Surrey public school and the Californian university.
He recommended fellow Old Epsomian Ben Francis to the rugby coaching staff at UCLA, and within a few years, after a trail of other ‘OE’s’ followed, UCLA was propelled from 26th in the US college rugby rankings to second place in 2014.
According to Companies House records, Lipman’s father David, 78, teamed up to form various firms with his elder brother Stefan, 37. Both men were listed as company directors of the now-dissolved investment firms Trident Ventures International Ltd and Trinity Ventures International Ltd.
Both companies were wound up three years ago.
The father-and-son pair were also directors of three other defunct small companies based in London and involved in consumer electronics, flowers and the music business.
Jay’s team in New York has staff who worked for the world’s biggest investment banks including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan.
Co-founder Doug Scott went to the University of Melbourne before entering world of investment banking, specifically with oil and gas.
He said he ‘struggled internally’ with investing in fossil fuels and moved to San Francisco where he met Jay and Johny Mair.
Mr Mair, also an Australian moved to London to work for Deutsche Bank and then to New York before taking a job at JP Morgan. After a number of other jobs on Wall Street he moved to tech firms before forming Ethic.
The documents filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission says $30million has been invested in Amazon shares, despite Jeff Bezos’ firm facing numerous allegations of anti-competitive behaviour and poor treatment of staff, suppliers and customers. There is also $45.8million in Apple shares despite the tech giant historically being accused of ‘failing to protect Chinese factory workers’ and treating them ‘inhumanely, like machines’, to meet western demand for iPhones, iPads and MacBooks.
An Ethic spokesman did not comment on the Sussexes’ investments but added clients can create their own portfolios that reflect the ‘unique values and financial priorities’, adding: ‘Whereas one client might place emphasis on deforestation and clean water, for example, another might be focused on strong corporate governance, women’s rights and/or racial justice.’
Ethic is believed to have around 1,000 high-value customers each investing $2million each on average. These include actor Aston Kutcher, but anonymous investors are believed to include sports stars, Hollywood big hitters and other celebrities, according to the Telegraph.
Ethic works with private wealth managers to buy stocks. British co-founder Jay Lipman, who has become a friend to the Sussexes and spent time at their LA mansion said in 2019: ‘The vast majority of the wealth we help invest is controlled by Boomers and their parents. These are the kinds of people who drive a Prius or a Tesla, they recycle, they compost’.
When you sign up new customers are encouraged to make a 30-second video for Ethic staff to define ‘what sustainability means to you’ and to set out ‘your mission’s pillars’.
Prospective customers are asked to curate a ‘personal mission’ by choosing topics such as racial justice, animal welfare and climate change. An algorithm then personalises their investments.
But one Ethic customer told the Telegraph that the ‘genius’ of Ethic is its use for ‘tax loss harvesting’ – a term for when the super-rich use loss-making investments to offset tax gains elsewhere.
Today’s revelations raises more questions about the ‘greenwashing’ of business with some experts claiming big corporations claiming to have progressive social values and environmental passions is ‘the defining scam of our time’.
Vivek Ramaswamy, a former hedge-fund partner who went on to write the book Woke, Inc, told The Times: ‘Their tactics are far more dangerous than those of the older robber barons: their do-good smokescreen expands not only their market power, but their power over every other facet of our lives. I’m fed up with the corporate game of pretending to care about justice in order to make money. It is quietly wreaking havoc on democracy’.
Alan Miller, the millionaire fuind manager married to anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller said in 2019 that a ‘cycle box-ticking and marketing’ meant that £2trillion in so-called ‘ethical investments’ were held in oil, weapons-makers and tobacco stocks.
He said: ‘The problem is that this whole industry is vague about what they are doing, and people just can’t see where they are investing because companies don’t disclose full details. We believe this has led to an alarming level of greenwashing — the practice of making misleading claims about the environmental benefits of an investment or company’.
The founder of the ethical investment company backed by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is a vegan ‘fun-loving hippie banker’ whose ‘great banter’ with lookalike Prince Harry while hanging out at the couple’s £10million LA mansion helped seal the deal, his British family exclusively told MailOnline.
The couple have invested in Ethic, set up in 2015 with two Australian friends by Briton Jay Lipman, who went to a £37,000-a-year private school in Epsom, Surrey, before moving to New York to work for Deutsche Bank after a gap year where he travelled through India and developed a passion for tuk-tuk racing.
Harry and Jay both men share a passion for rugby and the environment and Mr Lipman also grew up just 20 miles from Eton College, the elite boarding school the Duke of Sussex attended with his brother Prince William.
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, Jay’s mother Mayrilyn, 70, said her son was a successful Wall Street banker living a ‘lavish’ life in New York before moving to California to launch the start-up after telling her he was ‘very disgruntled at the fat cats getting fatter’.
She revealed she was in the dark about the Sussexes investing in his $1.3billion (£1bn) fund and said: ‘I knew something big was happening, but I had no idea that Harry and Meghan were getting involved. But nothing surprises me about Jay, he’s gone from strength to strength since leaving school.’
Mrs Lipman, who describes herself as an ‘ardent Royalist’ revealed that Jay, 33 was introduced to Harry and Meghan more than a year ago in New York through friends. He then continued to meet the Sussexes as a personal and professional relationship developed with them and even visited them at their home in Montecito, California.
She said: ‘There’s great banter between Jay and Harry because they have very similar interests. I wouldn’t say they’re close friends, but they have a good connection. But Jay is very humble, he’s not the sort of guy who would brag about it. Now that Harry and Meghan are involved people will sit up and take a lot more notice of Ethic.’
Jay’s tree surgeon brother, Stef, 37, who with his younger sibling bears more than a striking resemblance to Prince Harry, revealed: ‘Jay and I have always been into nature, saving animals and saving the planet. I would describe myself as a tree hugger, but Jay doesn’t have time to hug trees. But he has a huge passion for life, and it would be accurate to say he’s a fun-loving hippie banker. He might not say it himself but that’s what he is.’
Jay’s mother Marilyn and eldest son Stef, 37, spoke to MailOnline today and said: ‘He’s a fun-loving hippie banker. He might not say it himself but that’s what he is’
Jay attended exclusive Epsom College, where fees cost up to £37,000 a year and was brought up in a grand £1.25million home on one of the nicest streets in the Surrey town.
Marilyn, who is divorced from her husband David revealed that Jay and Stef became vegans about four years ago.
She joked: ‘Perhaps it was my cooking? But when he and Stef were younger, I cooked them meat and fish, which they both ate. But for Jay, things slowly started changing and when he got into saving the planet more, he became a vegan.
‘He’s always been very conscious of the environment and wouldn’t so much as drop litter as a child.’
She went on ‘Jay loves nature, all animals and wants to save the planet. That’s what motivates him.
‘He was previously working at Deutsche Bank but he hated it and was very disgruntled at the fat cats getting fatter. He was living in a very lavish apartment in New York and getting paid very well. Then one day he told me: ‘Mum, I’ve just handed in my notice. I’m going to San Francisco to do my own start up.’
She added: ‘He’s ten times happier now because he’s doing something that’s changing the world for the better. Jay has been wanting to do this for years’.
His father was a successful businessman with Stef recalling their idyllic childhood which involved sport, nature and animals.
Stef smiled: ‘As kids were were into nature a lot and Jay loved rugby. We were not video games kids.
‘We grew up in Epsom and were always out in the woods. That’s what we enjoyed the most, being in nature and enjoying the environment. We always had dogs and cats as pets and if there was an injured bird, Jay and I would want to save it. To be honest, we preferred animals to humans.’
After leaving school, Jay took a gap year where he went to teach in an orphanage in Tanzania; climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and also went on a guerrilla trek.
In 2006, he returned to the UK to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Edinburgh University and then two years later, transferred to the UCLA. In between his studies, he also travelled around India on a bus and took part in various adventures such as tuk-tuk racing.
Jay was headhunted by Deutsche Bank while in the US and joined the company soon after leaving university having earned two degrees.
Marilyn said that she had no plans to travel to the US to meet Jay and that her head has not been turned by his new association with Harry and Meghan. Stef is due to go out to see his brother later this year.
Ethic’s meetings with ‘gratitude sessions’ where staff thank each other for their hard work and can pet the office dog given the title ‘Chief Smile Officer’, it was revealed today.
The New York-based fintech asset manager has a laid back workplace common in tech firms on the west coast of the US, and says it helps its investors prioritise investments that they deem acceptable on grounds such as environmental and social goals,
It announced announced yesterday they had appointed the Sussexes as their ‘impact partners’, the couple’s latest move in their efforts to build what experts believe could be a $1billion brand in the US after quitting the Royal Family for independence and to earn their own money.
Business experts declared themselves flummoxed at what an ‘impact partner’ is, although the best guess seemed to be a super-charged brand ambassador.
The Sussexes have not said how much of their fortune they have invested in the £1.3billion investment fund, having been introduced to the founders by a mutual friend.
Ethic, which was set up by Briton Jay Lipman – a red-haired Prince Harry lookalike from London now settled in the US having worked for Deutsche Bank – ‘loves hippies’ to invest with them, because the team, several of whom worked for JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, consider themselves hippies too.
Today MailOnline can reveal that Mr Lipman is a former public schoolboy at exclusive Epsom College, where fees cost up to £37,000 a year. He was brought up in a grand £1.25million home on one of the nicest streets in the Surrey town.
Mr Lipman makes no mention of his privileged schooling on LinkedIn or his social media accounts, but a recent profile said he went to a ‘high school outside London’ – but failed to mention it was one of Britain’s most exclusive private schools that has educated a host of famous names including comedian Tim Vine and his broadcaster brother Jeremy, actor Tyger Drew-Honey and billionaire property tycoon brothers Christian and Nick Candy.
Mr Lipman’s co-founders are Australians Doug Scott and Johny Mair, who worked for banks investing in gas and oil amongst other things before they formed Ethic in 2015. Also included in its ranks are a number of dogs, including Roux and Gigi, apparently responsible for ‘security’, and Byron, who is named ‘Chief Smile Officer’.
The animals regularly attend team meetings, which begin with encouraging staff to ‘throw out a thank-you to someone who helped them that week’. ‘It gives everyone a chance to highlight each other’s contributions and feel good about the work being done,’ a post on the site says.
The company website lists its many team members from countries across the globe, all striking a different pose in quirky GIFs alongside personal thoughts on what sustainability means to them.
Harry and Meghan’s latest move into big business came after their deals with Netflix and Spotify worth £100million and the couple announced their latest tie-up with a statement that said: ‘When we invest in each other we change the world’.
And in a joint interview with the New York Times, Meghan, a multi-millionaire former actress who lives with her royal husband and children in a $14million LA mansion, said: ‘From the world I come from, you don’t talk about investing, right? You don’t have the luxury to invest. That sounds so fancy.’
She added: ‘My husband has been saying for years: ‘Gosh, don’t you wish there was a place where if your values were aligned like this, you could put your money to that same sort of thing?’,’ adding the couple were introduced to Ethic by friends. It is not yet known how much they invested ‘earlier this year’ or if they are both being paid a salary for their ‘impact partner’ roles.
Ethic claims to only invest in businesses that meet its ‘social responsibility criteria’, including on racial justice, climate change and workplace standards such as gender equality and fair pay.
Mr Lipman, a University of Edinburgh graduate, claims clients make just as much money with them as those putting money into more traditional portfolios including fossil fuels and tobacco companies.
Mr Scott, who worked in investment banking at Deutsche Bank, was listed on the Forbes 30 Under 30 and raised by ‘two forward-thinking social and environmental activists’, according to Ethic’s website.
Meanwhile Mr Mair, who studied Mechanical Engineering at Queensland University of Technology, has led product teams at a number of ‘high-growth startups’ including Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan, BlackRock, Fidelity, Guy Carpenter and Goldman Sachs.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have already signed major deals with Netflix and Spotify thought to be worth in excess of £100 million after quitting as senior working royals and moving to the US in a quest for personal freedom and to earn their own money.
In March he told Oprah he was forced to flee to Canada and make multi-million pound deals with Spotify and Netflix after he claimed the Royal Family ‘literally cut me off financially’ after the couple quit in January 2020.
Harry also has a number of other jobs, including at a California-based mental health start-up whose value has now topped £3billion after securing new funding from some of Silicon Valley’s biggest players.
BetterUp, which took on the Duke of Sussex as ‘chief impact officer’ in March, has raised £220million from investors, valuing the company at around £3.4billion. One of the leaders of the funding round was Iconiq Capital, a secretive investment firm which has managed the money of tech billionaires including Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.
Now the Sussexes have become ‘impact partners’ and investors at sustainable investing firm Ethic.
Jay Lipman, the British co-founder of Ethic, recently said in a video on their website that they ‘like hippies’ as a company and considered themselves hippies too despite managing a $1billion fund.
Harry and Meghan’s Archewell website confirmed their latest business partnership, linking to a New York Times story which featured the headline ‘Harry and Meghan Get into Finance’.
The Archewell website said: ‘When we invest in each other we change the world…’
It added: ‘We believe it’s time for more people to have a seat at the table when decisions are made that impact everyone.
‘We want to rethink the nature of investing to help solve the global issues we all face.’
Ethic’s website said it aims to empower wealth advisors and investors to create portfolios that align personal values with financial goals.
The Sussexes hope their involvement will encourage young people to be conscious of the sustainability of their own investments.
Harry told the New York Times: ‘You already have the younger generation voting with their dollars and their pounds, you know, all over the world when it comes to brands they select and choose from.’
The couple’s Archewell website highlighted their latest business venture, linking to the New York Times’ story which featured the headline ‘Harry and Meghan Get into Finance’
The Queen’s grandson Harry and former Suits star Meghan acknowledged that not everyone could afford to invest money.
‘When we invest in each other we change the world…’ the Archewell site said.
‘Be it through the investment of time (as with mentoring), investment in community (as with volunteering), or the investment of funds (for those who have the means to), our choices-of how and where we put our energy-define us as a global community.’
Ethic said it was thrilled to be welcoming the couple.
Harry and Meghan ‘share a lot of values with us, and we suspect, with many of you as well.
‘That’s why we’re so excited that they’re joining us as impact partners,’ a statement on its website said.
It said the Sussexes wanted to ‘shine a light on how we can all impact the causes that affect our communities’.
‘They’re deeply committed to helping address the defining issues of our time-such as climate, gender equity, health, racial justice, human rights, and strengthening democracy and understand that these issues are inherently interconnected,’ it added.
‘So much so, in fact, that they became investors in Ethic earlier this year and have investments managed by Ethic as well.
Ethic, which was founded in 2015, has $1.3billion under management and creates separately managed accounts to invest in social responsibility themes. It aims to empower wealth advisers and investors to create portfolios that align personal values with financial goals.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle descended on the Big Apple in late September, and this may have been when the deal was done. Some observers compared the New York trip to a royal visit, which Meghan and Harry had wanted to leave behind.
While in NYC they were given the A-list treatment, being chaperoned around by a large security detail as they mingled with UN officials and New York politicians and stayed in a hotel where rooms cost up to $8,800 a night.