Impact investing has posited the role of private capital for public good. The roundtable regulars - Imogen, Brian and David -- are back to answer the question: how is that position faring through the crisis?
Your weekly briefing from the virtual newsroom of ImpactAlpha focuses on resilience and disruption: headlines from ImpactAlpha, David Bank on “making this s***storm matter,” and Amy Cortese brings us this week’s Agent of Impact.
The coronavirus pandemic has upended virtually everything. In the pages of ImpactAlpha, we focused on resilience this week, featuring Amy Cortese on global energy markets, and Dennis Price with our Agent(s) of Impact.
On the latest edition of ImpactAlpha’s Returns on Investment podcast, host Brian Walsh suggests that the ‘technology’ of ESG and impact investing has passed the early-adopter stage and entered the early majority, gaining momentum among companies, asset managers and banks.
“The positive news is that more and more people know what we are talking about,” Bertrand Badré says on the most recent ImpactAlpha podcast. “The negative news is there is not enough action.” The former World Bank official and founder of Blue like an Orange Sustainable Capital (the name comes from a French surrealist poem) says needed changes in the financial system were not given enough thought when the Sustainable Development Goals were adopted five years ago. He’s writing a book on the topic; as a down payment, Blue Orange is releasing at Davos its internal rating system, SDG Blue, which scores investments against the SDGs in much the same way Moody’s scores companies’ credit ratings.
“Global thematic impact didn’t exist, so we decided to build it ourselves," says Erika Karp in the latest ROI. Cornerstone’s Access Impact Fund is a Nasdaq-listed mutual fund that for a minimum $1,000 investment offers access to sub-advisors looking for thematic investments in small-, medium- and large-cap companies across geographies.
Karp, formerly the head of global sector research at UBS Investment Bank, is taking a stand on hotly debated investment topics that go beyond impact investing. She says active management, which has fallen out of favor because of high fees and uneven performance, is key to intentional impact.
The popular protests that drove the GSG Impact Summit out of Santiago, Chile, added “a poignant urgency” to the first day of the global gathering of impact investors in Buenos Aires, Sir Ronald Cohen said in a podcast interview with ImpactAlpha’s David Bank.
Now that big private equity players are spinning up impact funds left and right, the impact of the rest of their investments is getting a lot more scrutiny as well.
ImpactAlpha’s roundtable regulars recorded a podcast episode keying on Blackstone’s investments in Brazilian agricultural processing plants linked to deforestation in the Amazon. But other private equity giants have stepped up with their own deals of questionable impact. As a source for stories, keeping watch on private equity impact is the gift that keeps on giving.
In a counter-intuitive shift, the estimated four million global youth climate strikers who took to the streets last week may be more pro-business than recalcitrant heads of state gathering at the United Nations intent on slow-walking climate action. The U.S., Brazil and Japan, for example, have not even asked to speak at today’s Climate Action Summit, where 60 or so countries are expected to present more ambitious carbon-reduction plans.
By catalyzing a powerful political constituency for urgent climate action, protestors may accelerate the low-carbon transition and soften climate shock. By most expert analysis, keep global temperature rise with 1.5 or even 2 degrees Celsius produces better returns for almost all in
The latest Returns on Investment podcast takes on the challenge of how investors can help make sure workers get a better shake. In a low-unemployment economy, it’s not only jobs, but quality jobs that are needed to drive broader prosperity that is inclusive of workers of all ages and skills.
The roundtable regulars aim to trace the connections between the impact investing project writ large and the current political climate, without violating our pledge against armchair analysis of electability, swing-state appeal or fundraising prowess.
On the latest episode of our special Institutional Shift series of conversations, Dave Chen and David Bank review their predictions from six months ago and look ahead to 2020. On the docket: climate-change investing, plastics, market segmentation, and product development.
A changing climate is changing the climate inside one of the world’s largest asset managers. Clients of Goldman Sachs Assets Management, which manages assets on behalf of wealthy families, pensions and foundations, endowments and insurance companies. These parties have always expected the firm to recite key financial metrics about the companies they own. But increasingly, says Hugh Lawson, the head of ESG and impact investing at Goldman, clients are demanding the big Wall Street money manager know more about the qualitative aspects of what those businesses do and how they do it.
In the latest episode of ImpactAlpha’s Returns on Investment podcast, David Bank dug in with Lawson about how greater investor urgency around climate, and confidence in low-carbon investment strategies, is changing investing (or isn’t).
One perk of both owning and managing your own capital: you get to set the rules. Blue Haven Initiative, the $500 million family office of Liesel Pritzker Simmons and Ian Simmons, has for a decade committed to integrate impact across 100% of its investable portfolio. In episode 7 of Beyond Tradeoffs, David speaks with Liesel about Blue Haven's approach.
In Episode 4 of ROI's Beyond Trade-offs series, produced in collaboration with Omidyar Network, Vishal Mehta of Lok Capital recalls how the Delhi-based impact investor blended venture capital and grant funding to build markets for financial services, health care and education for low-income Indians.
Today on ROI, we feature an interview with Ommeed Sathe of Prudential Financial in the third episode of Beyond Tradeoffs, produced in collaboration with Omidyar Network.
Prudential, a serious institutional investor with nearly $1.4 trillion in assets, is demonstrating that is possible to incorporate impact strategies within the norms and constraints faced by institutional investors. Their $800 million impact portfolio is invested with a specific mandate to show measurable benefits in financial inclusion, affordable housing preservation, educational excellence, workforce development and sustainable agriculture and other areas.
In the second episode of ImpactAlpha’s “Beyond Trade-offs” podcast series, produced in collaboration with Omidyar Network, Goldman Sachs’ John Goldstein charts the development of “risk-return-impact” frameworks that meet the needs of institutional investors. One of his jobs, he says, “is to help Goldman’s investors do better at doing what they do by incorporating environmental, social and governance into how we invest for all our clients.”
In a new series of podcasts produced in collaboration with Omidyar Network, ImpactAlpha asked a range of investors, from fully “market-rate,” to unapologetically concessionary, what lies… Beyond Tradeoffs.
What we heard is that investors of all types are finding strategies to avoid specific and systemic risks, to be aligned with long-term trends, to generate tangible and measureable social and environmental benefits and to otherwise meet their objectives – all along the continuum of risks and returns.
Hidden within the $3.8 trillion market for U.S. municipal bonds are not only mispriced social and environmental risks, but huge potential for on-the-ground impact in historically disadvantaged neighborhoods.
On this episode, David Bank chats with Eric Glass about how Alliance-Bernstein approaches municipal bonds with an impact lens.
According to billionaire hedge fund manager Ray Dalio, capitalism is not working well for the majority of Americans. In a recent essay he argues that it is producing self-reinforcing spirals up for the haves and down for the have-nots and that these conditions pose an existential risk for the U.S.
In the latest episode of ImpactAlpha’s Returns on Investment podcast, the roundtable regulars took up the challenge as well, with a provocative discussion of inequality and the age-old tension between capital and labor.
The dramatic fall from grace of Bill McGlashan, co-founder and former CEO of TPG Growth and The Rise Fund, after being indicted in the Varsity Blues college-admissions scandal, Rose-Smith suggests, may say more about private-equity and alternative-investment asset management in general than about impact investing in particular.
Are newspapers and newsmagazines "impact investments"? And are the billionaires who buy them making a positive impact? Listen in as David, Imogen, and Brian take up the topic of impact investing in news media on the latest episode of ROI
Newly elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has galvanized the political debate with a proposed Green New Deal that would rely primarily on government financing to pay for the required investments in climate-friendly agriculture, transportation, buildings, manufacturing and, of course, energy. In the latest Returns on Investment podcast, roundtable regulars Brian Walsh and Imogen Rose-Smith tried to force ImpactAlpha’s David Bank into his own awkward choice: private capital or government funding?
Will it be risk – rather than returns – that drives impact investment? Major companies are starting to face the very practical implications of climate change, as indicated by responses to CDP, the U.K. organization formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project. The latest episode of ImpactAlpha’s Returns on Investment podcast explores the connection between such risks and the mobilization of investment to address them.
The three-letter acronym for “environmental, social and governance” has broken out from the wonky world of finance and into subway ads and online pitches for a slew of new ESG mutual funds, ETFs and other financial services.
How such “non-financial” factors affect financial performance has been a matter of hot debate for several years. As ESG breaks into the mainstream, the podcast’s roundtable regulars took on a tougher question is: Does it make a bit of difference in the real world?
Join us for half-dozen or so forecasts from Equilibrium Capital's Dave Chen, who returned to ImpactAlpha's Returns on Investment podcast for a New Year's check-in on the progress of the "institutional shift" in impact investing. As Dave says, "Everybody loves a list."
We ring a bell and joke about taking a drink every time we can work the phrase “impact alpha” into a Returns on Investment podcast. We had to suspend the stunt to discuss a new report,“The Alpha in Impact.”
The report pulled back the curtain on 29 investments from 13 funds to demonstrate that impact be a driver of returns, not just a drag. Our roundtable regulars discuss.
As the climate hangs in the balance, policy momentum, investor sentiment and most of all global leadership will be crucial to sustain the global energy transition and, while we’re at it, economic transformation, that are both so urgently needed.
In late October 2018 US-SIF released their bi-annual report measuring the size of the impact market. By their calculations, responsible and impact investments now total 12 trillion dollars in the United States - representing a quarter of all US assets under professional management.
Can this amount, a 38% increase since 2016, be seen as an unmitigated success? "Not so fast," cautions the ROI roundtable. Listen in to find out why we're not ready to declare impact victory quite yet.
In its daily Brief and on its website, ImpactAlpha writes a lot about the challenges and triumphs of impact entrepreneurs. In this week’s Returns on Invesment podcast, host Brian Walsh put the questions to the company’s own mission-driven entrepreneurs: How’s the business going?
Join David Bank and Dave Chen as they continue our special series, Institutional Shift. The latest episode of ImpactAlpha’s Returns on Investment podcast takes stock of the state of impact investing at pension funds and other large institutional investors.
The impact investing community seems to be in one of its cyclical discussions about who and what should count as impact.
The latest Returns on Investment podcast takes up the growing concern about “impact-washing,” the use of impact jargon or marketing to raise money or burnish reputations without delivering real impact or, in some cases, causing negative impacts.
What will it take for investors to make the big bets?
ImpactAlpha’s latest Returns on Investment podcast took on what roundtable regular Imogen Rose-Smith, an investment fellow at the University of California, called “the disconnect between rhetoric and reality.”
The latest Returns on Investment podcast takes up the case of the $1 billion Abraaj Growth Markets Health Fund and impact investing failures more broadly. The health fund, which was pursuing an ambitious effort to build comprehensive healthcare networks in the megacities of the 21st century – think Lagos and Karachi and Mumbai – is now embroiled in the larger scandal that has engulfed Abraaj Group.
Impact investing types, it seems, are proud globalists. That optimistic, connected, cross-border approach to challenges, solutions and human relationships puts them in a unique position in this peculiar historic moment when walls are going up and strangers are suspect. At the same time, the essential precondition of investing – having capital to invest – means most investors are largely distant from the lived experience of many of the people their investments are purported to benefit. ImpactAlpha's roundtable regulars take on the contradictions of globalism.
(Photo: Top view of 1765 de l'Isle globe A 1765 de l'Isle globe, showing top view. Collection of the Minnesota Historical Society.)
In the latest Returns on Investment podcast, our roundtable regulars take up the April memo from the Department of Labor that tried, albeit weakly, to walk back the Obama-era guidance about how fiduciaries could consider ESG factors.
The obsession with financial returns that for decades kept major institutional investors away is now pushing them towards a serious accounting of environmental risks.
Ashby Monk joins Dave Chen, the chair of Equilibrium Capital, and David Bank, editor of Impact Alpha, on this episode of Returns on Investment: Institutional Shift.
A few years ago the Prudential Foundation committed to reaching a billion dollar impact portfolio by 2020, and they're well on their way to reaching that goal. On this episode of ROI, David Bank sits down with Lata Reddy, the Senior Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion & Impact at Prudential Financial and Chair and President of The Prudential Foundation to discuss the impact fund, their place based investing strategy, and the role of mission investing in the fight for social justice.
If impact investors are worth their salt, they’ll soon –– if not soon enough –– come up with a whole raft of investible solutions to the crushing burden of opioid addiction.
The problem may have snuck up over the past decade, but there’s no escaping the costs of the crisis now. As many as 23 million addicts in the U.S. More than 64,000 overdose deaths, most of them opioid-related. The annual economic cost: an estimated $193 billion.
On this episode of ROI, our panel discusses where impact investors can have a role in tackling the issue of opioid addiction.
Corporate venture capital is a thing. And that thing is converging on impact investing. The amount that global corporations put into strategic investments in startup companies last year reached $31 billion across 1800 deals, both all-time records.
Today on the podcast David Bank, Imogen Rose-Smith and Brian Walsh discuss Corporate Venture Capital and Impact.
The billionaires with their family offices command on outsized share of attention from impact fund managers. But, the real dollars, as in trillions, are in the huge pension and sovereign wealth funds around the world.
Today on ROI, David Bank speaks with Dave Chen, the head of Equilibrium Capital, about the burgeoning shift towards sustainability and EGS within the world of institutional investors.
A raft of new social-impact and environmental financing vehicle are emerging from labs, incubators and startup funds. By finding inventive ways to monetize social inclusion and environmental regeneration, the new models are "internalizing the positive externalities." Too wonky? Just say "impact alpha." Returns on Investment's resident blue-sky optimist, David Bank, lays bets that the best new ideas will scale up to attract real dollars. Our curmudgeon, Imogen Rose-Smith, is skeptical that many of the impact investment pilots will graduate from the kiddie table and join the adults in the real world of finance. As always, our host Brian Walsh keeps it lively.
Support for this Returns on Investment podcast comes from Wunder Capital, an easy way to invest in solar energy projects across the US. With Wunder, you help finance renewable energy and earn up to 7.5% a year. Visit WunderCapital.com/roi.
nvest in solar projects. Do well and do good.
It has been said that "for impact investing, every day is international women's day." As the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements continue to demonstrate their staying power, is it time that impact and finance at large take a closer look at gender equality within firms as well as in their investments? Brian Walsh, Imogen Rose-Smith and David Bank discuss in the latest ROI.
The whole panel is together in Oakland to discuss whether or not California is charting the way forward for the inclusive economy of the future. The golden state does seem to be ahead on issues such as immigration, climate change, and shared prosperity - but is there a flip side to the coin? Listen in as Imogen Rose Smith, David Bank, and Brian Walsh discuss The California Model.
At a recent hosted at the New York offices of the fintech company Liquidnet, in collaboration with the Tristate Area Africa Funders Network, ImpactAlpha’s own David Bank moderated a panel on “Demystifying Impact Investing” featuring Georgia Levenson Keohane of the Pershing Square Foundation, Liz Luckett of TSEF and Brian Trelstad of Bridges Fund Management..
Larry Fink, the CEO of the world largest asset manager, pushed "social purpose" higher on the corporate agenda with his annual letter, warning that every company "must show how it makes a positive contribution to society.” Social activists cheered; activist investors more accustomed to pressuring CEOs for stock buybacks and dividends, groaned. As onetime corporate raider Sam Zell put it, “I didn’t know Larry Fink had been made God.” Our roundtable of Imogen Rose-Smith, Brian Walsh and David Bank pull apart not only Fink's arguments, but the critics' and the cheerleaders' as well.
Natural spaces have long provided financial value to humans, though historically this has been through the process of extracting resources. Now, as scientists better understand the key role that ecosystems play in supporting life on earth, some banks and investors are looking to incentivize the preservation of wild spaces and species. Today on ROI, the panel discusses conservation finance.
Steve Case tells The New York Times that his $150 million Rise of the Rest Fund is "not an impact fund." Our Returns on Investment roundtable takes on the contretemps that played out on the pages of ImpactAlpha. Good jobs, overlooked geographies, bottom-up innovation – that sounds like impact. Do funds have to measure (and report)? Who decides? Imogen Rose-Smith, David Bank and Brian Walsh take Rise of the Rest apart (and put it back together again).
In 2007 the term Impact Investing was coined at a Rockefeller Foundation convening in Bellagio. The "framers" put the name to a burgeoning yet broad set of investment strategies being practiced on the margins of traditional finance. On this episode of ROI the panel discusses how the impact community has grown and changed in the past ten years, and where it's headed.
Imogen Rose-Smith plays cautious realist to David Bank's blue-sky futurist in this heated (but always friendly!) Returns on Investment roundtable.
At issue is the role of the world’s biggest asset owners – so-called Universal Owners – in the rotation of capital toward sustainability and inclusion.
Climate change is increasing the size, frequency, and cost of natural disasters. In the past several months alone we've seen the devastating affects of hurricanes, droughts, and monsoons. On today’s show, our panel talks impact investing and climate resilience.
On this special episode of Returns on Investment, David speaks with Kyungsun Chung, the Founder and CEO of Root Impact, a nonprofit that focuses on building capacity for the social innovation sector in Korea.
On this special edition of Returns on Investment, we're featuring a panel discussion from The Liquidnet for Good 10 Year Anniversary Forum. The conversation focuses on the future of business as a force for good, and is moderated by Daryl Brewster, the CEO of CECP
It features insights from Cammie Erickson, a Senior Manager with Linkedin For Good, Jen Field, the Social Impact Director for GLG, and Andy Fyfe of B Lab.
Uber is reeling due to a series of damning reports about it's corporate culture of misogyny. One potential solution that makes impact investors ears perk up: diversify the board. But, a new study from Katherine Klein of the Wharton School suggests that "the relationship between board gender diversity and company performance is either non-exist (effectively zero) or weakly positive." How do the findings effect the conversation around gender lens investing?
On this special edition of Returns on Investment, we're featuring a panel discussion from The Liquidnet for Good 10 Year Anniversary Forum. The conversation focuses on the future of impact investing, and is moderated. by Georgia Keohane, the Executive Director of the Pershing Square Foundation.
It features insights from Liz Luckett, the president of TSEF, Brian Trelsted, a partner at Bridges Fund Management, and Daniel Pianko, the Co-Founder and Managing Director of University Ventures.
On this special edition of Returns on Investment, we're featuring a panel discussion from The Liquidnet for Good 10 Year Anniversary Forum. The conversation focuses on the future of philanthropy and includes Fay Twersky of the Hewlett Foundation, Dennis Whittle of Feedback Labs, and Blue Meridian's Chuck Harris. The moderator is business and philanthropy journalist Mark Gunther.
Each year The GIIN releases their Impact Investor survey. Our panel sees some reasons for optimism in the report. But, is impact growing at a fast enough clip to tackle the challenges it's staked for itself?
Back in 2015, U.N. leaders adopted a set of 17 targets describing what the world should look like in 2030. The goals are highly ambitious, calling for solutions to climate change and poverty, as well as huge conservation targets and a revamping of the global agricultural system. A lot has happened on the geopolitical stage in the past years, but the SDGs, as they're called (to Imogen's chagrin), are still on the table. Has progress been made? Find out on this episode of Returns on Investment.
TPG Capital is moving into the impact world in a big way with a new 2 billion dollar fund. Bono, the famous face of the new fund, turned heads with some controversial comments at The Skoll World Forum. Are the impact investors of the past big hippies who aren't real investors? Is TPG about to change the game?
Ford Foundation president, Darren Walker, broke through a barrier of sorts recently with the announcement the foundation would commit $1 billion from its roughly $14 billion endowment to so-called mission-related investments.
In the latest Returns on Investment podcast, our roundtable takes on the question of just how significant Ford’s announcement really was. Will it help unlock many more billions for high-impact investments? Will it change how foundations think about deploying their capital? Can it help change the structure of the financial markets themselves?
Risk. Is it a board game focused on world domination, a fundamental consideration when allocating capital, or both? We focus on the latter this week, and explore how the impact community approaches issues surrounding risk and opportunity.
The pace of growth in the impact sector is up, but the amount of capital managed by impact investors is a drop in the bucket of the overall capital markets. What will it take to get the level of investment up to the scale of addressing the great challenges of the 21st century?
David Bank speaks with Head of Responsible Investment at Zurich Insurance Company Ltd. about the Paris climate agreement, the challenges facing asset managers looking to invest with an eye towards climate risk, and how to overcome the challenges of responsible investing
On today’s show, the ROI Panel is talking infrastructure. Join Brian Walsh, Imogen Rose-Smith, and David Bank for a discussion about the huge economic and social opportunities for impact and institutional investors in infrastructure.
In 2012, the F.B. Heron Foundation made waves by setting a goal to mission-align 100% of it's $300 million in assets by 2017.
Now, in "Building a Foundation for the 21st Century," Clara Miller - president of Heron - has called for the rest of the field to follow suit.
This week on ROI we're featuring an interview with Clara.
Nancy Pfund discusses DBL's new $400 million impact fund, as well as their ongoing investments in Tesla, Solar City, and Pandora.
And, our panel debates whether or not there's too much money in Impact.