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Preparing an impact investing policy agenda for the next administration

ImpactAlpha, July 8 – Eight small grants from the $14 million Tipping Point Fund on Impact Investing suggest the outlines of a 2021 policy agenda, no matter who wins the November U.S. election.

New definitions of fiduciary duty. Standards for quality jobs. Expansion of capital for community development financial institutions, or CDFIs.

“Impact investing has appeal across the political spectrum,” says the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance’s Fran Seegull, who is managing the fund. “Government and investors need each other to get to the scale we need.”

That such policy development is a “public good” that benefits many investors made it an early focus for the fund, which was launched in December by Blue Haven Initiative, Omidyar Network and the Ford and MacArthur foundations, and seven other private and corporate foundations. “We need solutions to ensure capital is deployed to promote opportunity for all, not to further entrench injustice,” said Omidyar Network’s Chris Jurgens.

  • Fiduciary duty. B Lab, the nonprofit behind B Corps, will push fiduciaries for increased accountability for impacts on stakeholders. The Principles for Responsible Investment, or PRI, will also take on fiduciary duty and environmental, social and governance, or ESG, disclosure. Potential flashpoint: Proposed U.S. Department of Labor rules on the integration of ESG into pension-fund decision-making. A 30-day comment window expires July 30. “We think the DOL is really out of step with the market,” Seegull told ImpactAlpha.
  • Community capital. The Opportunity Finance Network will explore tax incentives to drive capital to CDFIs. Sorenson Impact Center at the University of Utah will propose reforms to the Community Reinvestment Act. Pacific Community Ventures will pull together policies advancing quality jobs and addressing inequality. The Center for Strategic & International Studies will come up with “actionable recommendations” for development finance to foster micro, small, and medium enterprises. The full list.

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