Impact investing: doing well, doing good

14/07/2016

Download

​Nick Anderson and Hamish Chamberlayne, co-managers of Henderson’s global equity sustainable investment strategy, discuss the rise of impact investing and why it could be a fundamental force for positive change.

New buzz, old idea

Impact investing has become quite the buzz term in the last few years, generating significant debate over what it is, is not, and should be. The concept is actually much, much older, if we recognise its roots in the sin exclusions of 18th Century American society*. The Rockefeller Foundation coined the modern term as we know it (in 2007), in order to help rally disparate social investing forces under a more cohesive banner, paving the way for the foundation of the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) in 2009. The GIIN itself considers impact investments to be those “made into companies, organisations, and funds with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return”.

Although there are those who would argue for a narrower definition – preferring to focus on the ‘locality’ of operations, and on the ‘social’ needs of the poor and marginalised – we favour the GIIN’s broader one, which is outwardly global and inclusive: after all, the world’s most complex problems are a shared burden requiring a cohesive response. Trends such as climate change, resource constraints, ageing demographics, and population growth are having tremendous global transformational effects on human life and the wider biosphere. The action required to mitigate them simply cannot be accomplished at scale without help from the private sector. Traditional forms of philanthropy and government-led development programmes are subject to the mercy of their sponsors/donors, and potentially unsustainable given the enormity of the problems faced.



Growth spurt

Despite the challenges, there have been some encouraging developments. The GIIN estimates the investment market for impact capital, currently sized at c.US$77 billion, could grow over the next ten years to $2 trillion, or 1% of global invested assets, helped by growing awareness, widening accessibility, and legislative changes. In major developed economies the largest proportion of financial wealth held by individuals is typically within employee savings and pensions plans. Herein lies a tremendous opportunity for ordinary people to catalyse social and environmental change. This is becoming possible as governments consider broadening the definition of qualifying impact investments, launch new vehicles, (eg, European Long-Term Investment Funds), and better incentivise participation, for example through specific tax breaks.

Impact investing is no longer the preserve of wealthy individuals, philanthropic trusts, or institutional schemes with access to the private equity and debt vehicles that have dominated approaches historically. More products are now being launched for the mainstream community that offer, for example, portfolios of stocks and shares in publicly-traded companies positively selected for their social and/or environmental credentials. We would argue that these should be considered on a case-by-case basis under the umbrella of impact investments.

The indications thus far are that supply of socially and environmentally-orientated funds in the retail space is being met by increasing demand: research by pan-European think-tank Eurosif confirms that appetite for themed sustainability funds across Europe is building, with this part of the market growing at double-digit rates since 2011. Other studies have also suggested that that the Global Financial Crisis catalysed interest in corporate responsibility, and towards ways of investing more closely aligned with personal values, notably among Millennials.

Returns, not charity

There are, however, barriers to overcome in terms of the public perception of impact investing, concerns that have also traditionally dampened interest in wider sustainable and responsible investment (SRI) strategies. The most significant worries cited are performance and risk. There is often a misconception that financial returns have to be sacrificed in order to accomplish non-financial goals. Different impact investing strategies are designed to target a range of returns. Analysis conducted by investment research firm MSCI in the run-up to launching its All Countries Sustainable Impact Index – which selects companies based on rigorous sustainability and ESG criteria – showed the filtered index had outperformed its unfiltered All Countries Index on an annualised basis over a period of five years**.

This and other substantial research supports the view that companies involved in the building of future industries, and that are developing sustainable business practices and building robust and ethical supply chains, not only have the potential to consistently grow earnings, but also limit numerous regulatory and operational risks. This is one of the reasons that we use both positive and negative (exclusion) screening criteria to construct our portfolios. We believe investing using positive criteria/thematic selection is best carried out in tandem with checks that police against investment in harmful products and business practices.

Measuring outcomes

Intentionality, return expectations, and measurability are the cornerstones of impact investing, meaning that as interest grows in this market, there will be a greater focus on accurately assessing outcomes. Measuring impact within investment funds poses difficulties from quantitative and qualitative perspectives, but data collection and methodologies are improving. To help standardise measuring and reporting, the GIIN created Impact Reporting and Investing Standards (IRIS), a catalogue of generally accepted performance metrics gauging corporates’ social, environmental, and financial successes.

MSCI has recently developed a new framework to support aligning investments with the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development goals; this will become a major area of focus for impact investing as member states use the goals to frame their agendas and political policies over the next 15 years. Carbon footprint reporting has also become more sophisticated, allowing portfolio managers to manage their carbon liabilities. Henderson has been working with Trucost since 2005 to carbon audit its SRI portfolios, something that has been subsequently rolled out to all Henderson equity strategies to allow them to track their carbon exposures. Our global equity SRI fund is one of the lowest carbon global equity portfolios available in the investment funds market.

Impact investing will continue to generate debate about what types of investment should and should not be included under its broad mantel. One thing is certain, social and environmental-focused strategies have rightfully earned their place in the market and are making people question traditional approaches: doing good has never felt so rewarding.

 

*For example, Puritan society in Britain and North America sought to prohibit vices such as drunkenness, and gambling. Later, the Methodist church was one of the first religious organisations to oppose investments in businesses producing alcohol, tobacco products, and/or promoting gambling. 

**MSCI ESG Research: Sustainable Impact through Public Markets Study, 2015. Historical and simulated data from November 2010 to November 2015. Please note that past performance is not a guide to future performance. ESG = Environmental, social and corporate governance.

 

These are the views of the author at the time of publication and may differ from the views of other individuals/teams at Janus Henderson Investors. Any securities, funds, sectors and indices mentioned within this article do not constitute or form part of any offer or solicitation to buy or sell them.

Past performance is not a guide to future performance. The value of an investment and the income from it can fall as well as rise and you may not get back the amount originally invested.

The information in this article does not qualify as an investment recommendation.

For promotional purposes.


Important information

Please read the following important information regarding funds related to this article.

Janus Henderson Global Sustainable Equity Fund

This document is intended solely for the use of professionals and is not for general public distribution.

Past performance is not a guide to future performance. The value of an investment and the income from it can fall as well as rise and you may not get back the amount originally invested. Tax assumptions and reliefs depend upon an investor’s particular circumstances and may change if those circumstances or the law change.

If you invest through a third party provider you are advised to consult them directly as charges, performance and terms and conditions may differ materially.

Nothing in this document is intended to or should be construed as advice. This document is not a recommendation to sell or purchase any investment. It does not form part of any contract for the sale or purchase of any investment.

Any investment application will be made solely on the basis of the information contained in the Prospectus (including all relevant covering documents), which will contain investment restrictions. This document is intended as a summary only and potential investors must read the prospectus, and where relevant, the key investor information document before investing. Copies of the Fund’s prospectus and key investor information document are available in English, French, German, and Italian. Articles of incorporation, annual and semi-annual reports are available in English. All of these documents can be obtained free of cost from Janus Henderson Investors registered office: 201 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 3AE.

Issued in the UK by Janus Henderson Investors. Janus Henderson Investors is the name under which Henderson Global Investors Limited (reg. no. 906355), AlphaGen Capital Limited (reg. no. 962757), Henderson Equity Partners Limited (reg. no.2606646), (each incorporated and registered in England and Wales with registered office at 201 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 3AE) are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority to provide investment products and services. We may record telephone calls for our mutual protection, to improve customer service and for regulatory record keeping purposes.

Copies of the Fund’s prospectus are available in English, French, Spanish German and Dutch. Key investor information documents are available in English, Danish, German, Finnish, French, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish and Dutch. Articles of incorporation, annual and semi-annual reports are available in English. All of these documents can be obtained free of cost from the local offices of Janus Henderson Investors: 201 Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 3AE for UK, Swedish and Scandinavian investors; Via Dante 14, 20121 Milan, Italy, for Italian investors and Roemer Visscherstraat 43-45, 1054 EW Amsterdam, the Netherlands. for Dutch investors; and the Fund’s: Austrian Paying Agent Raiffeisen Bank International AG, Am Stadtpark 9, A-1030 Vienna; French Paying Agent BNP Paribas Securities Services, 3, rue d’Antin, F-75002 Paris; German Information Agent Marcard, Stein & Co, Ballindamm 36, 20095 Hamburg; Belgian Financial Service Provider CACEIS Belgium S.A., Avenue du Port 86 C b320, B-1000 Brussels; Spanish Representative Allfunds Bank S.A. Estafeta, 6 Complejo Plaza de la Fuente, La Moraleja, Alcobendas 28109 Madrid; Singapore Representative Henderson Global Investors (Singapore) Limited, 138 Market Street #34-03/04 CapitaGreen, Singapore 048946; or Swiss Representative BNP Paribas Securities Services, Paris, succursale de Zurich, Selnaustrasse 16, 8002 Zurich who are also the Swiss Paying Agent.

Specific risks

  • Investment management techniques that have worked well in normal market conditions could prove ineffective or detrimental at other times.
  • Shares can lose value rapidly, and typically involve higher risks than bonds or money market instruments. The value of your investment may fall as a result.
  • This fund is designed to be used only as one component in several in a diversified investment portfolio. Investors should consider carefully the proportion of their portfolio invested into this fund.
  • The Fund could lose money if a counterparty with which it trades becomes unwilling or unable to meet its obligations to the Fund.
  • Derivatives use exposes the Fund to risks different from, and potentially greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in securities and may therefore result in additional loss, which could be significantly greater than the cost of the derivative.
  • Changes in currency exchange rates may cause the value of your investment and any income from it to rise or fall.
  • If the Fund or a specific share class of the Fund seeks to reduce risks (such as exchange rate movements), the measures designed to do so may be ineffective, unavailable or detrimental.
  • Any security could become hard to value or to sell at a desired time and price, increasing the risk of investment losses.

Risk rating

Janus Henderson Institutional Global Responsible Managed Fund

This document is intended solely for the use of professionals and is not for general public distribution.

Past performance is not a guide to future performance. The value of an investment and the income from it can fall as well as rise and you may not get back the amount originally invested. Tax assumptions and reliefs depend upon an investor’s particular circumstances and may change if those circumstances or the law change.

If you invest through a third party provider you are advised to consult them directly as charges, performance and terms and conditions may differ materially.

Nothing in this document is intended to or should be construed as advice. This document is not a recommendation to sell or purchase any investment. It does not form part of any contract for the sale or purchase of any investment.

Any investment application will be made solely on the basis of the information contained in the Prospectus (including all relevant covering documents), which will contain investment restrictions. This document is intended as a summary only and potential investors must read the prospectus, and where relevant, the key investor information document before investing. Copies of the Fund’s prospectus and key investor information document are available in English, French, German, and Italian. Articles of incorporation, annual and semi-annual reports are available in English. All of these documents can be obtained free of cost from Janus Henderson Investors registered office: 201 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 3AE.

Issued in the UK by Janus Henderson Investors. Janus Henderson Investors is the name under which Henderson Global Investors Limited (reg. no. 906355), AlphaGen Capital Limited (reg. no. 962757), Henderson Equity Partners Limited (reg. no.2606646), (each incorporated and registered in England and Wales with registered office at 201 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 3AE) are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority to provide investment products and services. We may record telephone calls for our mutual protection, to improve customer service and for regulatory record keeping purposes.

Copies of the Fund’s prospectus are available in English, French, Spanish German and Dutch. Key investor information documents are available in English, Danish, German, Finnish, French, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish and Dutch. Articles of incorporation, annual and semi-annual reports are available in English. All of these documents can be obtained free of cost from the local offices of Janus Henderson Investors: 201 Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 3AE for UK, Swedish and Scandinavian investors; Via Dante 14, 20121 Milan, Italy, for Italian investors and Roemer Visscherstraat 43-45, 1054 EW Amsterdam, the Netherlands. for Dutch investors; and the Fund’s: Austrian Paying Agent Raiffeisen Bank International AG, Am Stadtpark 9, A-1030 Vienna; French Paying Agent BNP Paribas Securities Services, 3, rue d’Antin, F-75002 Paris; German Information Agent Marcard, Stein & Co, Ballindamm 36, 20095 Hamburg; Belgian Financial Service Provider CACEIS Belgium S.A., Avenue du Port 86 C b320, B-1000 Brussels; Spanish Representative Allfunds Bank S.A. Estafeta, 6 Complejo Plaza de la Fuente, La Moraleja, Alcobendas 28109 Madrid; Singapore Representative Henderson Global Investors (Singapore) Limited, 138 Market Street #34-03/04 CapitaGreen, Singapore 048946; or Swiss Representative BNP Paribas Securities Services, Paris, succursale de Zurich, Selnaustrasse 16, 8002 Zurich who are also the Swiss Paying Agent.

Specific risks

  • Investment management techniques that have worked well in normal market conditions could prove ineffective or detrimental at other times.
  • Shares can lose value rapidly, and typically involve higher risks than bonds or money market instruments. The value of your investment may fall as a result.
  • This fund is designed to be used only as one component in several in a diversified investment portfolio. Investors should consider carefully the proportion of their portfolio invested into this fund.
  • The Fund could lose money if a counterparty with which it trades becomes unwilling or unable to meet its obligations to the Fund.
  • The value of a bond or money market instrument may fall if the financial health of the issuer weakens, or the market believes it may weaken. This risk is greater the lower the credit quality of the bond.
  • Derivatives use exposes the Fund to risks different from, and potentially greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in securities and may therefore result in additional loss, which could be significantly greater than the cost of the derivative.
  • Changes in currency exchange rates may cause the value of your investment and any income from it to rise or fall.
  • When interest rates rise (or fall), the prices of different securities will be affected differently. In particular, bond values generally fall when interest rates rise. This risk is generally greater the longer the maturity of a bond investment.
  • Any security could become hard to value or to sell at a desired time and price, increasing the risk of investment losses.

Risk rating

Janus Henderson UK Responsible Income Fund

This document is intended solely for the use of professionals and is not for general public distribution.

Past performance is not a guide to future performance. The value of an investment and the income from it can fall as well as rise and you may not get back the amount originally invested. Tax assumptions and reliefs depend upon an investor’s particular circumstances and may change if those circumstances or the law change.

If you invest through a third party provider you are advised to consult them directly as charges, performance and terms and conditions may differ materially.

Nothing in this document is intended to or should be construed as advice. This document is not a recommendation to sell or purchase any investment. It does not form part of any contract for the sale or purchase of any investment.

Any investment application will be made solely on the basis of the information contained in the Prospectus (including all relevant covering documents), which will contain investment restrictions. This document is intended as a summary only and potential investors must read the prospectus, and where relevant, the key investor information document before investing. Copies of the Fund’s prospectus and key investor information document are available in English, French, German, and Italian. Articles of incorporation, annual and semi-annual reports are available in English. All of these documents can be obtained free of cost from Janus Henderson Investors registered office: 201 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 3AE.

Issued in the UK by Janus Henderson Investors. Janus Henderson Investors is the name under which Henderson Global Investors Limited (reg. no. 906355), AlphaGen Capital Limited (reg. no. 962757), Henderson Equity Partners Limited (reg. no.2606646), (each incorporated and registered in England and Wales with registered office at 201 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 3AE) are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority to provide investment products and services. We may record telephone calls for our mutual protection, to improve customer service and for regulatory record keeping purposes.

Copies of the Fund’s prospectus are available in English, French, Spanish German and Dutch. Key investor information documents are available in English, Danish, German, Finnish, French, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish and Dutch. Articles of incorporation, annual and semi-annual reports are available in English. All of these documents can be obtained free of cost from the local offices of Janus Henderson Investors: 201 Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 3AE for UK, Swedish and Scandinavian investors; Via Dante 14, 20121 Milan, Italy, for Italian investors and Roemer Visscherstraat 43-45, 1054 EW Amsterdam, the Netherlands. for Dutch investors; and the Fund’s: Austrian Paying Agent Raiffeisen Bank International AG, Am Stadtpark 9, A-1030 Vienna; French Paying Agent BNP Paribas Securities Services, 3, rue d’Antin, F-75002 Paris; German Information Agent Marcard, Stein & Co, Ballindamm 36, 20095 Hamburg; Belgian Financial Service Provider CACEIS Belgium S.A., Avenue du Port 86 C b320, B-1000 Brussels; Spanish Representative Allfunds Bank S.A. Estafeta, 6 Complejo Plaza de la Fuente, La Moraleja, Alcobendas 28109 Madrid; Singapore Representative Henderson Global Investors (Singapore) Limited, 138 Market Street #34-03/04 CapitaGreen, Singapore 048946; or Swiss Representative BNP Paribas Securities Services, Paris, succursale de Zurich, Selnaustrasse 16, 8002 Zurich who are also the Swiss Paying Agent.

Specific risks

  • Investment management techniques that have worked well in normal market conditions could prove ineffective or detrimental at other times.
  • Shares can lose value rapidly, and typically involve higher risks than bonds or money market instruments. The value of your investment may fall as a result.
  • Some or all of the annual management charge is taken from capital. This may constrain potential for capital growth.
  • This fund is designed to be used only as one component in several in a diversified investment portfolio. Investors should consider carefully the proportion of their portfolio invested into this fund.
  • The Fund could lose money if a counterparty with which it trades becomes unwilling or unable to meet its obligations to the Fund.
  • Derivatives use exposes the Fund to risks different from, and potentially greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in securities and may therefore result in additional loss, which could be significantly greater than the cost of the derivative.
  • If the Fund or a specific share class of the Fund seeks to reduce risks (such as exchange rate movements), the measures designed to do so may be ineffective, unavailable or detrimental.
  • Any security could become hard to value or to sell at a desired time and price, increasing the risk of investment losses.

Risk rating

Share

Important message