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The Impact Alpha: Prudence, materiality and impact in the Trump era

  • Not just another swing of the pendulum ... The latest Labor Department guidance on on ESG considerations for investors queues up the right question.
  • Duty bound... If ESG factors are material to long-term financial performance, prudent pension-fund fiduciaries have to consider them.
  • Game on... David Bank tackles "Prudence, materiality and impact in the Trump era" in his column this week.

The Impact Delta: Change is good for investors focused on environmental and social performance

  • The all-knowing market... is pricing "impact alpha" into companies' valuations, making it tougher to get good ESG (for environmental, social and governance) performance on the cheap.
  • Distance traveled... Investors are starting to value the improvement, not just the outputs.
  • Tremendous opportunity... "to gain insight and alpha through finding companies with improving momentum in their ESG profiles,” says Cornerstone Capital Group's Erika Karp.

The impact opportunity in the mispriced risk of lending to the underserved

  • Falling cost of capital... We’re familiar with the impact of the falling cost of technology, from mobile phones to solar panels. The falling cost of capital may have even greater impact.
  • Serving the underserved... Millions of small businesses and individuals, in the US and around the world, may finally get access to the kind of appropriate, affordable capital they need.
  • Asset-backed lending... Bankers historically have not rushed to finance the receivables of customers without established credit histories. That’s starting to change.

Talking and walking the impact investment beat

  • ImpactAlpha Editor David Bank's standard response... to the question of why he started ImpactAlpha and assigned himself to impact investing was...
  • Let’s cover... impact investing like a real beat, on the hunch that it will eventually become one.
  • The beat is here... In 'The Impact Alpha," his new column, Bank tells readers the challenge for the new ImpactAlpha is staying ahead on it.

Complicit: Where are impact investors as the tax bill redistributes wealth upward?

Talk about a meme whose time has come. “Complicit” is the word of the year, according to, which made the selection even before the last few holdouts among Senate Republicans traded their votes for the tax cut for vague promises about health care, Dreamers and deficits. In her opening remarks at last week’s High

From ‘Condemn and Disband’ to ‘Invest and Transform’

Was the mass resignation of the country’s top CEOs from the Trump Administration a momentary reflex? Or the catalyst for collective and purposeful social leadership from business on the grand challenges of our time? The president’s contortions over neo-Nazis and white supremacists may have been the final straw, but there were already major loads on the

Renewables are no longer ‘alternative.’ Fossil fuels are ‘legacy.’

The decision facing investors, from American families with 401(k)s to managers of the world’s largest pension and sovereign wealth funds, is whether to bet on the low-carbon energy transformation now well under way – or stick with business-as-usual. At stake is not only retirement security but whether the end of the fossil fuel era is