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New Database of 50 Impact Fund Managers

You want to make some impact investments – who are you going to call?

Impact Assets, a nonprofit financial services firm, has released the ImpactAssets 50, a compendium of fund managers with a demonstrated commitment to delivering social and environmental impacts along with financial returns. Fund managers must meet multiple criteria, have at least $5 million in assets under management and have more than three years experience in impact investing.

The annual list is the brainchild of Ron Cordes, co-chair of the $25 billion-plus wealth management unit of Genworth Financial Inc., and a co-founder of ImpactAssets. In seeking to steer his own family foundation toward impact investing, he was frustrated by the lack of information on the emerging field. He laid out the need for resources for like-minded investors at the Clinton Global Initiative in 2010.

The database is the first open-source, publicly published database of for-profit and nonprofit fund managers. This year’s list of managers represents $10.2 billion in assets under management, up 15 percent from last year.

“We’ve identified the potential universe of impact fund managers with a long term track record that a new investor should start a conversation with and see where that conversation goes,” says Jed Emerson, a longtime thought leader on impact investing and ImpactAssets “chief impact strategist.”

The database of fund managers is a response to rising interest in impact investing. In a recent survey, the Calvert Fund reported that 72% of financial advisors have expressed interest in offering impact investing products to clients.

“On the one hand, we wanted to provide an orientation for people new to the space,” says Emerson. “On the other hand, we wanted to use this as a way to hold up a mirror on the impact investing arena overall and help people develop an appreciation for the depth and breadth of what’s evolved over the past 10 or 20 years.”

The database, accessible on the site, is not an index nor a Top 50 list, nor does it delve into fund-level details, Emerson says. But newcomers can sort and filter across a range of asset classes (debt, private equity and real estate), geographies, size of funds and themes (microfinance, clean technology, education, sustainable agriculture and the like).

For example, Vienna, Austria-based Absolute Portfolio Management, a unit of Vienna Portfolio Management Inc., with $151 million of impact investment holdings, indicates that it uses Symbiotics Group’s Social Rating tool for measure microfinance environmental, social and governance performance and for third party systems validation.

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