Weekly News Round-Up: February 24th, 2017

Upcoming Events

Webinar: Proxy Voting and Shareholder Engagement for Endowments l Intentional Endowments Network, February 27, 2017, 12:30 - 1:30 PM ET

  • The webinar will provide an overview of the value of proxy voting and additional forms of engagement for endowments that are involved in commingled funds through an outsourced CIO – including the current landscape, trends, specific issues, and why it is important for investors. Guidelines and opportunities of how to take action will also be provided.

Webinar: Sustainable Investing through Hedge Funds | Intentional Endowments Network, March 9, 2017, 1:00 - 2:00 PM EST

  • This webinar will provide an overview and opportunities of sustainable investing through hedge funds.  Because hedge funds have an ability to sell short, they can benefit not only from investing long in winning companies, but also from shorting companies on the losing end of the shift to sustainable business models or companies with high levels of ESG risk. 

Webinar: Mission-Aligned Investing: What New Positive Deviance Research Can Tell Us About What Moves Institutional Investors to Action | Intentional Endowments Network, March 15, 2017, 12:00 - 1:00 PM ET

  • Based on in-depth new research about what facilitates mission-aligned investing, presenter Abigail Abrash Walton, PhD, will share her research findings related to mission-aligned investing, leadership, and the decision-making process to divest from fossil fuels by philanthropic organizations with assets under management from $5 million to $1 billion.  This will include what factors supported decision makers in moving to mission-aligned investing while simultaneously exercising their fiduciary duty to steward institutional assets and how the divestment decision affected the decision makers personally and their organizations. 

Responsible Investment Forum l Private Equity International & UN PRI, March 7-8, 2017, New York, NY

  • Find out why leading global investors are putting increasing pressure on US managers to adopt stricter environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles as they consider investing in private equity and other alternative asset classes. Building on the success of the longest-running ESG event in Europe, the Responsible Investment Forum comes to New York to bring together the most sophisticated LPs, GPs and service providers to discuss why, when, and how your firm should be implementing an effective ESG strategy.

Impact Investing Forum 2017 l Opal Group, April 23, 2017 - April 25, 2017, Boca Raton, FL

  • The Impact Investing Forum will look at many of the asset classes that encompass this space. We invite you to join us and meet top influencers, experienced investors, money managers, and service providers that are leading the charge in this ever growing space. Themes of defining impact investing, portfolio construction, asset class opportunities, and the role of the investor are just a few of the stimulating topics to be covered at this event. This conference will exclusively feature dialogue driven panel discussions led by consultants and family offices.

The Impact Capitalism Summit l Big Path Capital, April 25-26, 2017, Chicago, IL

  • The Impact Capitalism Summit is the Largest Convening of Impact Investors Globally. This year at the Impact Capitalism Summit in Chicago we will explore the progress of leading impact investment portfolios, discover the latest innovations across sectors, themes and asset classes, and identify the steps needed to harness the power of capital markets to build a sustainable, fair and just economy where opportunity and prosperity are shared by all.
 

Sustainable / ESG Investing

PrivCaps's Private Equity ESG Summit Report | PrivCap

  • This publication presents an overview of the intelligence that was shared at Privcap’s Private Equity ESG Summit, which brought together limited partners, general partners, operating experts, investor-relations professionals, and advocates for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) objectives in investing. 

Bloomberg Brief l Sustainable Finance

  • This week's Bloomberg Brief highlights deals this month from Fannie Mae and BBVA that show green loans pushing beyond project finance for renewable energy, with an eye toward securitization or syndication that could appeal to sustainable investors; Quebec following Ontario into green bonds; Big batteries coming of age; Companies based in Europe saying more about the United Nations sustainable development goals; and if investors use their hard-fought proxy access rights?

Why Governance Matters In Sustainable Investing l Forbes

  • Many people focus on the 'E' in ESG probably because environmental factors, like reducing emissions or using renewable energy, are easy to understand. But social issues are also important. It may include treating diseases, producing safe products for consumers and creating healthy workplaces for employees. Governance—the 'G' in ESG—often gets the least attention, but it’s another important way that companies can make a positive impact. Good governance seeks to effectively balance the needs of executives and shareholders, which should be good for investors.
Venture Capitalist: Managers Need to Take More Risks in Impact Investing l Wealthy Management
  • Speaking on a panel at The Economist’s Impact Investing conference last week, Nancy Pfund, the founder and managing partner of DBL Partners, was critical of larger institutions and said their lack of aggressiveness in impact investing was holding back the asset class. 
Columbia Threadneedle Wins ESG Strategy Contract With Zurich l Actuarial Post
  • Columbia Threadneedle Investments, a leading global asset management group, has been appointed by Zurich Germany to manage its new European equity ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) strategy.
Mission-Related Investing Gains Traction l Chief Investment Officer
  • Mission-related investing is gaining strong momentum among non-profit institutional investors, with 31% making investments aligned with environment and climate change, healthcare, housing, job creation, and education, according to a survey by Cambridge Associates, a global investment firm. None of the investors surveyed expect to decrease their allocations. It’s no secret that public demand has been high for colleges and universities to divest from fossil-fuel related investments, and the survey found climate risk a top consideration for 41% of colleges and universities and 30% of foundations.
Green Investing Takes Hold with New Partnership l Seacoast Online Blogs
  • Progressive Asset Management (PAM) has partnered with Securities America, allowing PAM to begin expanding its reach throughout New England, starting with the December 2016 opening of a Vermont office. The drive to merge values with long-term investments has grown dramatically over the past two decades as the cumulative impact of SRI and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) initiatives has taken hold.
  • Sonen Capital announced the final close of its Global Sustainable Real Assets Fund, a $75 million private global real assets impact investment fund. The strategy seeks to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon environment, promote resource use efficiency and increase the stock of land, water and trees under sustainable management. The fund achieved its capitalization target with contributions from a global mix of family offices, foundations, and financial institutions.

Schroders' Global Investor Study (Pension Fund Investors) – Focusing on Investment Outcomes and ESG Issues l Pensions & Investments 

  • The Schroders Global Investor Study takes place at a time when financial markets are – potentially – at a turning point, moving from widespread expectation of deflation, to one where inflationary pressures are starting to re-emerge. The ability to beat inflation is increasingly weighing on the minds of institutional investors. The Study also finds that institutional investors are leading the charge on ESG issues, which are becoming a more important factor in investment strategies. Investors are taking a closer look at their investments' ESG impact and becoming willing to sell investments for transgressions.

When Impact Investing Is All About the People | Sanford Social Innovation Forum 

  • Impact investing strategies often focus on returns, but one family foundation’s sights are set on building human capacity, collaboration, and diversity in the field.

 

Fiduciary Duty

Understanding UPMIFA: Delegation of Management and Investment of Endowment Funds l JDSUPRA Business Advisor

  • The Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UPMIFA or the Act) was adopted in 2006 by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, as the successor to the Uniform Management of Institutional Funds Act (UMIFA), and has (on 1/1/2017) been enacted in every state except Pennsylvania. UPMIFA provides guidance and authority to charitable organizations concerning the management and investment of charitable funds and for endowment spending.
Leading Practice Briefing on Fiduciary Duties for Endowments and Foundations | Intentional Endowments Network, prepared by Megan Jackson and Keith Johnson at Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c., February 2017

Updated Regulatory Guidance on Proxy Voting and Sustainable Investment | Intentional Endowments Network, prepared by Megan Jackson and Keith Johnson at Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c., February 2017

 

Fossil Fuel Divestment
 
University of Guelph Student Activist Group Holds Presentation on Divestment l The Ontarion
  • Fossil Free Guelph (FFG) hosted an information panel at the Grad Lounge on Feb. 8 to discuss the first steps in rolling out their Special Action Policy (SAP) proposal to the University of Guelph on divestment. The group believes that there is deception in the University’s “green” image in relation to their actual investments in fossil fuels.
Yale Corporation Scrutinizes Exxon Investments l Yale Daily News
  • The Yale Corporation received an update from Yale’s responsible investments committee about ongoing research into the oil company Exxon Mobil Corp., whose efforts to sow doubt about climate change have led to calls for divestment from students and faculty. In an interview with the News, Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility Chair Jonathan Macey LAW ’82 said he doubts that the Corporation, which deliberates in secret, made a decision on whether to divest from Exxon at last weekend’s meeting.
Protesters Call for Chico State University to Cut Ties With Banks Lending to North Dakota Access Pipeline l The Orion
  • After Seattle voted to cut ties with Wells Fargo because of its ties to the Dakota Access Pipeline, Chico protesters are asking Chico State to do the same. Chico State was the first public university in the United States to fully sever ties with fossil fuel companies in 2014. This raises concern as to if the current divestment plan from fossil fuels coincides to working with organizations who are helping fund projects such as installing a crude oil pipeline.
Why the Swarthmore College Board Should Listen to the Divestment Referendum (Opinion) l The Phoenix
  • In this article, the author shares their opinion on why Swarthmore College should consider divestment.
Fossil Free Penn Members Don Surgical Masks at UCouncil Forum to Protest University's Decision Against Divestment l The Daily Pennsylvanian 
  • At the University Council Open Forum on Wednesday, members of Fossil Free Penn staged a demonstration to speak out against the Penn administration’s continued investment in the fossil fuel industry. The forum was protesting the administration’s decision to reject a divestment proposal put forth by the group in October 2015.
Pipeline Protesters in Iowa City Call for Solidarity with Standing Rock, Divestment from Banks l Press-Citizen
  • Iowa City protesters standing with the Standing Rock Sioux Nation against the Dakota Access Pipeline made stops to U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo and the offices of U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack on Wednesday, urging divestment from the financial institutions the same day officials arrested and evicted people from North Dakota camps created to help stop the pipeline's construction.