Stewarding wealth for the common good: how an Asian family office incorporated climate change mitigation into its portfolio

 

Alliance magazine

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Annie Chen

‘From an Asian perspective, climate change is not a distant threat – it is happening today. I want to make sure that the way my capital is invested is part of the solution and not the problem.’

So says Annie Chen, founder of RS Group, a Hong Kong-based family office. Air pollution in Beijing, bushfires in Australia and typhoons in the Philippines underline her remarks. Consequently, RS Group incorporates climate change considerations in all its activities and across asset classes, with the dual goal of contributing to climate change mitigation and ensuring its investment portfolio is fit for the future.

RS Group uses a ‘total portfolio management’ approach, under which all of its activities, from strategic philanthropy to capital management, support its mission of contributing to sustainable development. Since 2009, it has built a globally diversified portfolio managed by over a dozen external asset managers (typically 3-4 per asset class). At the moment, sustainable strategies make up over 70 per cent of its investments. In the coming years, legacy private equity investments will be replaced by sustainable and impact strategies, bringing RS Group closer to its goal of a 100 per cent sustainable allocation. Philanthropic capital is also used to support transformative ideas on sustainable development, especially in the Asian region, while at the same time empowering people and communities in building a more balanced, productive and just society. RS Group takes a long-term horizon (typically 7-10 years) when constructing its portfolio to achieve returns in line with its mission.

About Annie Chen

Born in Hong Kong and educated in the US, Annie Chen is the founder and chair of RS Group, her family office, which is physically housed within a broader family office shared among her parents and siblings across three generations. Since 2008, she has been working on incorporating her own values into her private portfolio through RS Group towards the goals of sustainable development.

Climate change strategy
Recognizing the importance of climate change to sustainability, RS Group sought ways in which different parts of its portfolio could contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation. The challenge was to select measures that would lead to a tangible impact without substantially changing risk and return levels of the overall investment portfolio. The Group devised a three-part strategy:
•    Support (invest in climate change solutions)
•    Avoid (divest from fossil fuel-intense industries)
•    Engage (engage with investment holdings and share experiences with the broader community)

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Tagged in: Climate change Hong Kong strategy


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