For newcomers to impact investing, figuring out where to even begin one’s journey can be a challenge, especially if you’re simply an investor with a broad interest in investing for financial returns with social and environmental impact but don’t want to learn all the minutiae of impact investing. ImpactAssets-50, launched by the US-based non-profit financial services group ImpactAssets, aims to help newcomers get oriented to the impact investing landscape. The purpose is not to rank firms or offer an investable index but to give wealth managers and their clients a sense of which firms would be worth talking with across a variety of thematic areas and investment strategies.
Given the IA-50’s focus on firm-level commitment to impact, firms that applied to be included responded to a host of questions such as how the firm manages for impact; whether it makes use of the IRIS metrics framework or is a GIIRS Pioneer Fund; and what gender and other attributes the firm’s leadership has. The reception of the IA-50 has been positive and plans are already under way for next year’s roster, so firms interested in being considered should register now for consideration in 2012.
In addition to IA-50, ImpactAssets has released the first in what will be a library of Issue Briefs: concise (less than 15pp) essays addressing questions newcomers to impact investing often raise such as how to think about an investment strategy that unifies capital allocations for impact and how best to consider risk, return and performance. ImpactAssets is seeking co-authors to collaborate on future Briefs.
ImpactAssets is working to expand the amount of capital in impact investing both by doing educational work – such as the Issue Briefs and the IA-50 – and by creating investment products and opportunities that help investors move more money in an easier way. One such investment product is its donor advised fund, which has the majority of its $60 million in assets already invested for impact.