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Investment Trends to Watch in the Second Half of 2019

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.


Goldman Sachs’ Hugh Lawson on How Climate Change Is Changing Asset Management

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...


Beyond Tradeoffs: Blue Haven uses flexibility to drive impact across portfolios

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.


Beyond Tradeoffs: Growing demand, growing companies and growing opportunities for impact at scale

In episode 6 of Beyond Tradeoffs, David speaks with Sandeep Farias of Elevar Equity about their approach to early stage investing in developing markets.


Beyond Tradeoffs: Finding mispriced risks in affordable housing, quality jobs and diverse managers

On episode 5 of our special series, Beyond Tradeoffs, produced in collaboration with Omidyar Network, David interviews Roy Swan and Christine Looney about Ford Foundations Mission Investment strategy.


Beyond Tradeoffs: How Lok Blends Commercial Capital and Smart Subsidies for Transformative Impact

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.


Beyond Tradeoffs: An 80/20 Rule Helps an Institutional Impact Investor Manage Risks

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...


Beyond Tradeoffs: Big Investors Press Asset Managers to Integrate ‘ESG’ and Impact Across Portfolios

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.”


Beyond Tradeoffs: Omidyar Network's Investments Across the Continuum of Returns

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...


Eric Glass Makes the Case for Municipal Bonds as Impact

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.


Making the ‘S’ in ESG stand for ‘Share the Wealth’

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...


The ‘Red Ferrari Syndrome’ and Other Lessons of Impact Investing’s Varsity Blues Scandal

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.


Is it Impact Investing When Billionaires Buy Newspapers and Magazines?

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


No Need to Wait for Washington to Mobilize Around a ‘Green New Deal’

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...


Risky Business: Corporations Need Market Signals to Reduce Climate Risks

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.


If ‘ESG Investing’ is So Great, Why is the World Going to Hell?

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?


Institutional Shift: Climate Risk Hits the Market and Other Impact Investing Trends to Watch in 2019

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."


The Impact Alpha Report: Can Impact be a Driver, Dot a Drag, on Returns?

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.


Climate Signals Blinking Red, a Test for Global Leadership at COP24

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.


Taking Sustainable Investing to the Next Level, Sooner Than Later

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.