Research

Research

While not comprehensive, TriLinc Global updates this research guide regularly as new studies emerge in the field of impact investing. TriLinc Global does not monitor third-party research sites, and providing links does not imply a recommendation or endorsement of the views expressed or materials provided. TriLinc Global has no control over the nature, content, completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability of research links, and it is not liable for any loss or damage incurred as a result of any reliance placed on them.

Annual Impact Investor Survey 2016
Published by: The Global Impact Investing Network and J.P. Morgan
May 2016
The sixth edition of the Annual Impact Investor Survey is based on an analysis of the activities of 158 of the world’s leading impact investing organizations, including fund managers, foundations, banks, development finance institutions, family offices, pension funds, and insurance companies. The survey provides detailed insight into investor perceptions and a number of key market variables such as types of investors, the number and size of investments made, target returns, attitudes towards liquidity and responsible exits, and impact measurement practices. This “State of the Market” analysis explores how investments continue to be made across different geographies, a range of sectors, and multiple asset classes, signaling continued market growth and an increasing interest in impact investing opportunities.

Investing in the Future: Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends
Published by: Morgan Stanley
April 2016
Sustainable, responsible and impact investing approaches continue to gain traction among investors. Morgan Stanley’s Investor Pulse poll of 1,003 US high net worth (HNW) investors ages 25 to 75, conducted January 2016, spotlights the changing opinions on these investments.

Fixed Income and Impact Investing: A Primer for Families
Published by: The ImPact
March 2016
Fixed income (FI) is a cornerstone of traditionally balanced investment portfolios, offering stable income, varying liquidity, and a relatively low risk profile. Given the prevalence and diversity of FI investment opportunities, families who wish to create or expand an impact investment portfolio may find FI to be a good place to start. Today, families are making FI impact investments across sectors, geographies, and return profiles. The purpose of this primer is to explore the different ways families make FI impact investments in order to achieve their impact and financial objectives. This primer is intended to be explanatory, and not a source of investment advice.

Social Investment Insights Series
Published by: Big Society Capital
March 2016
Social Investment is one tool to enable charities and social enterprises that are achieving significant impact in our communities to do more with the most vulnerable people in society. Currently, in the UK a large proportion of social investment is being made by institutional investors – pension funds, foundations, large charities and other financial institutions – as well as High Net Worth individuals. This is due, in part, to how the social investment market has evolved over time, with a large proportion of investment happening through intermediated channels, often via fund structures. In this way, the shape of the market has to an extent reflected the shape of the capital available.

The Landscape for Impact Investing in Southern Africa
Published by: The Global Impact Investing Network and Open Capital Advisors
February 2016
The GIIN, in partnership with Open Capital Advisors, published The Landscape for Impact Investing in Southern Africa, a state-of-the-market analysis of the impact investing industry in the active region. The report includes findings from 12 countries, as well as a dedicated chapter exploring the role of development finance institutions (DFIs) across Southern Africa. The report analyzes a market comprising countries that vary substantially in their level of development but that present common challenges and opportunities for investments to drive social and environmental impact.

Impact Investing Frameworks for Families
Published by: The ImPact
January 2016
What do people really mean when they talk about “impact investing?” Why do people make impact investments, and how do they do it? What counts, and what doesn’t? This primer provides family enterprises with clear explanations of the “why,” “how,” and “what” of impact investing. The following pages will illuminate the diversity of the impact investing marketplace as it exists today, and provide families with a basic understanding of how they can start making more impact investments more effectively.

The Landscape for Impact Investing in West Africa

Published by: The Global Impact Investing Network and Dalberg Global Development Advisors
December 2015
The Global Impact Investing Network, in partnership with Dalberg Global Development Advisors, published The Landscape for Impact Investing in West Africa, a state of the market analysis of the impact investing industry in the region. The report includes regional findings from 15 countries, as well as dedicated chapters covering the most active markets: Nigeria, Ghana, and Senegal. Across the region, investors highlight opportunities for impact and financial return, particularly in the key sectors of energy, financial technologies, and agriculture. The landscape study is based on thorough analysis of relevant literature, large volumes of transaction data, and extensive interviews with key industry stakeholders. Detailed country chapters include information on the supply of capital by investor type, investment opportunities by sector, and regulatory considerations and hurdles for impact investors and investees.

Construction of An Impact Portfolio: Total Portfolio Management for Multiple Returns
Published by: ImpactAssets
October 2015
Impact may be pursued across an entire portfolio with an appropriate consideration of various risk, impact and financial return objectives for the allocation of philanthropic, near-market and market-rate capital.

Great Expectations: Mission Preservation and Financial Performance in Impact Investing
Published by: Wharton Social Impact Initiative
October 2015
This new study provides an objective, rigorous look at two of the most important aspects of impact investing: financial returns and long-term impact. Specifically, the study explores the widespread assumption that impact investing private equity funds cannot achieve market-rate financial performance. The report’s findings suggest that – in certain market segments – investors might not need to expect lower returns as a tradeoff for social impact. The research found that impact funds in the sample that reported seeking market-rate return—which is only one segment of the broad spectrum of impact funds—demonstrated that they can achieve results comparable to market indices.

Frontier Capital: Early Stage Investing for Financial Returns and Social Impact in Emerging Markets
Published by: Omidyar Network
October 2015
Standing at the convergence of impact investing and venture capital, Frontier Capital focuses on low- to lower-middle-income people in emerging markets.  This report underlines the immense potential of new business models to serve these populations, generating both outsized impact and strong financial returns.  The report also underscores the need to segment the lower-middle-income opportunity by matching the right investors with the right investment opportunities.

Fiduciary Duty in the 21st Century
Published by: PRI, UNEP FI, UNEP Inquiry & UN Global Compact
September 2015
The purpose of this report is to end the debate about whether fiduciary duty is a legitimate barrier to investors integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues into their investment processes. The report finds that integrating ESG issues into investment research and processes will enable investors to make better investment decisions and improve investment performance consistent with their fiduciary duties. This will result in capital being allocated towards well-governed companies, putting investors in a better position to contribute to the goals of a greener economy and a more sustainable society.

Essentials of Impact Investing: A Guide for Small-Staffed Foundations
Published by: Arabella Advisors, Exponent Philanthropy & Mission Investors Exchange
September 2015
This guide demystifies the process of designing and implementing an effective impact investing strategy, offering advice, tools, and real-world examples of impact investing by foundations with few or no staff. For experienced impact investors and newbies alike, it demonstrates the wide breadth of approaches and purposes that impact investing programs accommodate. Just as importantly, it provides actionable advice and insights that foundations can use to build or enhance their impact investing efforts.

Introducing the Impact Investing Benchmark
Published by: Cambridge Associates & the Global Impact Investing Network
June 2015
Cambridge Associates and the Global Impact Investing Network have collaborated to launch the Impact Investing Benchmark, the first comprehensive analysis of the financial performance of market rate private equity and venture capital impact investing funds.

Eyes on the Horizon: The Impact Investor Survey
Published by: J.P. Morgan & the Global Impact Investing Network
May 2015
This report presents the findings of the fifth annual impact investor survey conducted by The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) and J.P. Morgan. This survey captures data and market perspectives from 146 impact investors ranging from foundations to financial institutions. The authors have maintained core questions on investor activity and perspectives, but have also included additional topics such as loss protection, technical assistance, impact management and measurement, and exits.

Sustainable Reality: Understanding the Performance of Sustainable Investment Strategies
Published by: The Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing
March 2015
A growing number of investors are exploring sustainable investing. In 2012, $1 out of every $9 of US assets under professional management was invested in some form of sustainable investment, primarily in public equities. In 2014 that number increased to $1 out of every $6 – to a total of $6.57 trillion now invested sustainably. With this growth, investors increasingly ask what tradeoffs, if any, there are to sustainable investing. Some investors believe sustainable investments underperform, or have higher risk than their traditional counterparts. This report sets out to explore whether this view is accurate.

Adding value(s) to investing 
Published by: UBS Financial Services
March 2015
This report covers the why, what, and how of sustainable investing, an emerging field of investors and stakeholders that are increasingly incorporating environmental, social, and governance factors into their decision-making. This report first highlights reasons and motivations to get involved in sustainable investing. It then presents three building blocks for a sustainable investing strategy: exclusion, integration and impact. Finally, it considers how to implement those building blocks in and across portfolios. This report offers a comprehensive introduction to SI and is targeted both at investors new to the field and to those with some familiarity who wish to learn more.

Sustainable Signals: The Individual Investor Perspective
Published by: The Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing
February 2015
Individual investors are clearly signaling that sustainable investing has a bright future, but only if investors see proof that pursuing positive impact and maintaining a profitable portfolio can be complementary goals. By identifying the key drivers of sustainable investing and addressing potential barriers, the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing aims to accelerate mainstream adoption of this dynamic investment approach.

A Short Guide to Impact Investing
Published by: The Case Foundation
September 2014
This guide is intended to help bring newcomers into the game. Its purpose is to inform, pose questions, provide some answers and develop a robust conversation around impact investing.

Spotlight on the Market: The Impact Investor Survey 
Published by: J.P. Morgan & the Global Impact Investing Network
May 2014
The 2014 edition of J.P. Morgan and the GIIN’s impact investor survey reveals market growth amidst greater government support, new product and fund launches and widespread impact measurement. For the first time, the survey provides detailed insight into asset allocation trends across regions, sectors, and financial instruments from the largest-ever respondent group, up 26% this year from 2013. The report stated expected commitments of $12.7 billion expected by survey participants in 2014, up from $10.6 billion committed in 2013, a 19% increase. Over 50% of investors are seeking competitive financial returns.

The Millennial Perspective: Understanding Preferences of the New Asset Owners
Published by: ImpactAssets
April 2014
This report details how and why the NextGen is gravitating toward impact investments – investments that generate measurable social and environmental impact as well as financial returns. The Issue Brief takes a close look at the ways financial advisors and other service providers may better understand and be responsive to a Millennial mindset.

Sustainable Investing: Imperative and Opportunity
Published by: Morgan Stanley
February 2014
Audrey Choi, CEO of the Institute for Sustainable Investing, discusses investment approaches that seek positive social or environmental impacts as well as competitive risk-adjusted financial returns.

Shifting the Lens – A De-Risking Toolkit for Impact Investment
Published by: Bank of America Merrill Lynch & Bridges Ventures
January 2014
This report focuses on how innovative investments can be de-risked to attract much broader flows of capital. It identifies seven de-risking features that can mitigate these factors, from catalytic guarantees, which governments and foundations are well-placed to provide, to specialized brokering services and credible distribution platforms.

From Ideas to Practice, Pilots to Strategy: Practical Solutions and Actionable Insights on How to Do Impact Investing
Published by: World Economic Forum
December 2013
This report seeks to disseminate the best practices and lessons learned from the first movers, early adopters and bold innovators in the field of impact investing, with the goal of advancing the sector.

Bringing Impact Investing From the Margins to the Mainstream
Published by: World Economic Forum & Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu
September 2013
The report provides a market assessment and recommendations for how mainstream investors can more actively engage in impact investing. Through seminal research, it proposes several key recommendations for how the impact investment sector can reach scale.

The Future of Investment: Impact Investing
Published by: UKSIF
September 2013
UKSIF’s report compiles insights from leading UK impact investing specialists drawn from UKSIF’s membership. It shows that impact investing involves a range of different investment vehicles, and it highlights the opportunities and supporting regulatory regimes for impact investing in the UK. The report presents regulatory and other barriers to the sector, and lessons which the UK can take from abroad. In addition, it outlines expectations of significant sector growth over the next 5-10 years.

IRIS Data Brief: Focus on Employment
Published by: Global Impact Investing Network
June 2013
This IRIS Data Brief includes performance data from more than 4,000 mission-driven portfolio companies. In addition to data that show overall characteristics of the reporting organizations – including geographic diversity and a concentration in the financial services sector – it includes a focused set of analyses related to employment.

Priming the Pump: The Case for a Sector Based Approach to Impact Investing
Published by: Omidyar Network
September 2012
The impact investing sector, while still in its infancy, has made remarkable progress in building awareness that business can generate a positive social impact. Although individual firms remain the essential innovators and building blocks of social change, they are means to a broader end of creating innovations that can touch the lives of hundreds of millions. This paper argues for a shift in the impact investing industry toward scaling entire industry sectors in addition to individual firms. Market scalers can accelerate the growth of a sector (e.g. access to finance) by increasing their size and business activities as individual firms.

Gateways to Impact
Published by: Calvert Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Deutsche Bank, Envestnet, Metanoia Fund & Veris Wealth Partners
June 2012
This report is based on a nationwide survey of 1,065 financial advisors. It provides financial services firms with key insights into the demand among financial advisors for sustainable investment information and products. It offers an overview of financial advisors’ readiness to advise their clients on sustainable investments, and recommends how wealth management and financial services firms can better support their advisors and clients.

Impact Investing: A Framework for Policy Design and Analysis
Published by: Insight at Pacific Community and Venture & The Initiative for Responsible Investment at Harvard University
January 2011
The publication focuses on strategies to unlock more capital for companies, funds and other vehicles that generate positive social and/or environmental outcomes —such as high-quality jobs, healthcare, education, affordable housing and cleaner, more efficient energy—in addition to financial return. The framework explores not the general enabling role of public policy in markets (the provision of basic infrastructure and “rules of the game”), but rather, specific efforts to catalyze investment opportunities that yield deliberate and substantial social or environmental benefit.

More than Money: Impact Investing for Development
Published by: The Center for Global Development
2010
This report offers an important survey and analysis of international development efforts. Impact investing has the potential to spur development in regions and sectors that traditional foreign direct investment does not target, but it faces many challenges, notably market fragmentation and a lack of infrastructure.

Impact Investments: An emerging asset class
Published by: J.P. Morgan Global Research & The Rockefeller Foundation
November 29, 2010
The Rockefeller Foundation partnered with J.P Morgan’s Investment Bank to coauthor the first report which rigorously sizes, projects and defines the current impact investment opportunity. The study includes the first comprehensive data analysis of return expectations and realized returns for the impact investment industry.

Money for Good – Impact Investing: Select Findings
Published by: Hope Consulting
April 2010
The Money for Good project conducted research on the market opportunity for impact investment and charitable donations, and presents findings on increasing impact investments.