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Impact Investing:
Aligning Investments with Mission

September 201

Impact investing is increasingly popular among investors who seek social and environmental benefits along with financial returns. In September, FWSF and CFA co-hosted a packed event on impact investing, featuring an accomplished panel moderated by Kumiko Yoshinari, CFA. 

Jessica Matthews, Cambridge Associates, a leading consulting firm in mission-related investing, provided an overview of the industry. By 2020, the global market is projected to exceed $400 billion according to a recent study by J.P. Morgan. Investment vehicles are quickly expanding, range across all asset classes, and cover many social and environmental themes. Cambridge Associates works with universities, U.S. foundations, family offices and religious organizations. 

Lisa Hagerman, DBL Ventures, a venture capital firm, seeks to combine top-tier financial returns with meaningful social, economic and environmental returns in the regions in which it invests. Lisa explained the venture capital model for social impact. Notable exits include Solar City and Tesla. Developing reliable metrics to measure and report on social impact is necessary in order to achieve scale. Leading resources include Global Impact Investing Network and IRIS.

Lauryn Agnew, Sea Coast Financial, develops and implements strategies in the institutional investment industry. As an advocate, she is developing the Bay Area Impact Investing Initiative (www.baiii.org) for institutional asset pools. She became interested in investing for strong financial returns and regional economic impact from her board role on United Way. She outlined how a 100% impact portfolio could be built that would satisfy both the mission as well as the risk-and-return objectives that a fiduciary requires.

Given the lively Q & A and discussion following the formal program, look for future programs to keep up with new developments in impact investing.

— Submitted by Sharon Lee Polledri

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