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CalSTRS anchors Impactive’s responsible-investing hedge fund

ImpactAlpha, March 14 – The California State Teachers’ Retirement System is committing $250 million to Impactive Capital, a new activist hedge fund that will focus on responsible, long-term investing.

Impactive was launched by Lauren Wolfe and Christian Asmar, who previously worked at Blue Harbour Group, a 15-year-old fund that built a reputation on being a collaborative activist fund. Impactive’s founders intend to take the same approach, with a positive ESG (environmental, social and governance-focused) investment strategy.

“The pendulum has swung too far toward a hyper-focus on short term results,” Wolfe said in a statement. “We take a longer-term view of our investments and improve capital allocation and ESG where it drives real value.” 

CalSTERS’s commitment to Impactive is small relative to its $224 billion investment portfolio, but it aligns with the state pension’s expanding capital allocation to responsible investments. Last year, CalSTERS earmarked $1 billion to invest in eight ESG-focused fund managers.

It may also signal the pension’s growing attention to activist strategies. CalSTERS began working with another activist hedge fund, Jana Partners, last year to pressure companies like Apple to enhance or adopt responsible business strategies.

Impactive’s investment from CalSTERS, one of the largest pension schemes in the U.S., will serve as anchor capital that the Impactive team can begin investing while seeking additional investor support. CalSTERS’ commitment is for a six-year term.

The capital also supports a woman- and minority-led fund. Only about 1% of the $70 trillion in assets under management is controlled by women and people of color.

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