Mission

A financial system that safeguards social cohesion and the environment.

Who wouldn’t want this? But common sense isn’t common practice in the finance system and today’s financial system is the opposite of what we need. Which is why Preventable Surprises exists.

We are a group of investment industry insiders – some retired, some in post – and related experts who seek to persuade institutional investors to accept their fiduciary responsibility to mitigate systemic risks before the next preventable surprise. We have identified climate disruption, biodiversity loss, and executive pay as being among the most pressing risks facing investors.

Our unique contribution

Overcoming the inertia of business as usual requires multiple players using multiple strategies. Here’s how we fit into this puzzle:

1) Many groups have investment firms as members or clients but we work with individual “positive mavericks” within the investment industry to push for faster, deeper change than might, at first, seem possible. Many of the strategies that responsible investors are pursuing today will only have incremental impact on the real world. Most strategies ignore systemic risks. Many ESG professionals – and a growing number of traditional investment professionals too – know this gap exists between “walk” and “talk”. “Positive mavericks” are those who are conscious of this gap and want to do something about it. We support, challenge and coach them to aim high, and push their organisations to deliver.

2) We don’t shy away from explaining the wrongs of the present-day investment system. But as a “think-do tank” we go much further, developing bold thinking and fresh proposals which are fit for purpose given the severity of the issue. Our proposals are authentic yet practical. And we place significant emphasis on getting these ideas adopted by raising the profile and building the necessary alliances. We don’t seek PR and indeed often work behind the scenes because this has more impact.

3) We ensure that conflicts of interests do not get in the way of how we work. We don’t have consultancy income to safeguard, corporate members to satisfy and we don’t accept grants from foundations that tell us what to think. Thus we are bold in our recommendations, focussing on what is needed, challenging conceived ideas and powerful players whenever and wherever this is needed.

Read more about our theory of change and how we work with positive mavericks.