Weekly Impact Investment Market Update: August 31, 2018

Impact Investing & ESG

As ESG Investments Boom, Asset Managers Seek Out Fixed-Income Options
Bonds have potential to be a popular ESG asset class for impact investors.

Impact Investing Boom Leads to Verbal Muddle
The word has swung into favor in responsible investing circles in the past few years, and is now used by many different players to mean different things. So far this has not led to any tension, but debates over how the word should be used are likely to intensify in the next year.

SRI, ESG and Impact Investing: A Natural Evolution for Investment Management?
There is some confusion around the terms and methodologies behind SRI, ESG and Impact investing. If they all exist on the same spectrum, where does one begin and the other end?

Former Hedge Funder Seeks to Improve ESG Investing
It’s an age-old investing question. Can you do good and do well at the same time? Ethan Powell is on a mission to prove that you can.

3 Areas of Fixed Income Experiencing ESG Innovations
The focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing has made headway in the form of equities, but investors are also looking at opportunities within the fixed-income space where funds can make innovations to meet this demand.


United States & Europe

US Economy Logs Best Performance in Nearly 4 Years
U.S. economic growth was a bit stronger than initially thought in the second quarter, notching its best performance in nearly four years, as businesses boosted spending on software and imports declined.

Why the U.S. Economy is Having a Boom
There’s no doubt that the U.S. economy is in a boom. The Conference Board is reporting the highest levels of job satisfaction in more than a decade.

Eurozone Unemployment Falls to Decade Low of 8.2 Percent
Unemployment across the 19-country eurozone has fallen to its lowest level since the most acute phase of the global financial crisis a decade ago.


Developing Economies

Britain’s May in Kenya to Boost Economic Ties Amid Brexit
British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday became the first UK leader to visit Kenya in 30 years, bringing security and development funding to East Africa’s commercial hub and neighboring Somalia as Britain seeks to boost economic ties ahead of a bumpy exit from the European Union in March.

Asia’s Digital Revolution
Asia is embracing the digital revolution. Companies such as Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu are providing a wide range of services from e-commerce to fintech and cloud computing for customers in China and elsewhere.

Australia, Indonesia Wrap Up Talks on Free Trade Agreement
Indonesia and Australia announced the conclusion of talks on free-trade deals as the Pacific neighbors attempt to boost economic ties.

Weekly Impact Investment Market Update: August 24, 2018

Impact Investing & ESG

Impact Investing Market Map
The PRI launched the Impact Investing Market Map to bring more clarity to the process of identifying mainstream impact investing companies and thematic investments so that asset owners and fund managers can better assess opportunities in this market.

Should Impact Investors Aim for Market Returns?
Fund houses are increasingly launching impact products to rival mainstream alternatives

American Century Investments Research Shows the Appeal of ‘Impact Investing’ Growing, with Millennials Taking the Lead
“Impact investing”–financial investments designed to generate a measurable, positive impact on society, while also providing potential returns–is growing in popularity.

Why ‘Good Guy’ Stocks Can Help You Beat the Market
Today there’s a growing body of evidence showing that companies that put social responsibility first can also finish first in the market. The question is no longer whether you can do well while doing good, but how best to distinguish the do-gooders.


United States & Europe

Powell Signals More Hikes Ahead if US Economy Stays Strong
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell signaled Friday that he expects the Fed to continue gradually raising interest rates if the U.S. economic expansion remains strong.


Developing Economies

Rural Areas and Small Cities Hold the Key to Economic Growth
According to the State of Food and Agriculture report by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the key to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development are transforming rural communities and promoting agriculture.

Nigeria’s Central Bank to Stimulate Lending, Buy Corporate Bonds to Boost Growth
Nigeria’s central bank plans to stimulate lending to manufacturers and invest in corporate bonds to revive the economy ahead of next year’s presidential election.

Southeast Asia Deploys Stimulus to Maintain 5% in 2Q
Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia try to fend off impact of trade war.

Chile Economy Posts Biggest Jump in Growth in Six Years
Chile’s gross domestic product grew 5.3 percent in the second-quarter of 2018 compared with a year earlier, its biggest jump in nearly six years, the central bank said.

Weekly Impact Investment Market Update: August 17, 2018

Impact Investing & ESG

To Invest for Impact, We Need to Start by Agreeing What ‘Impact’ Means 
Michele Giddens, partner at Bridges Fund Management, explains how the Impact Management Project is the first sector-wide effort to produce a commonly-recognized convention for analyzing and talking about impact.

State of the Small & Growing Business Sector- 2017 Impact Report
ANDE shares the progress of 283 member organizations in over 150 countries that have invested US $14.8 billion directly into SGBs and supported over 730,000 SGBs with capacity development services.

Nudging the Investment Ecosystem by Incentivizing Impact
This paper furthers the conversation on Impact Measurement and Management, IMM 2.0, through brainstorming practical ideas and viewpoints in the impact investing value chain: those who provide capital, those who manage it, and those who receive it.

Climate Change Considerations up Five-Fold over Two Years in Money Manager Decisions
Climate change considerations soared more than five-fold over two years in money managers decisions, a new report by US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment revealed.

California Could Be the First US State to Set Quotas for Women on Boards
California legislators have introduced a bill that would require publicly traded companies based in the state to have at least one woman on their board starting in 2020.


United States & Europe

Powell to Discuss Economy and Monetary Policy at Jackson Hole
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will headline this year’s central bank gathering in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on August 24th with a speech about monetary policy in a changing economy.


Developing Economies

How Technology Can Make South Africa a More Equal Country
South Africa is the most unequal country in the world, according to a recent report published by the World Bank. Technology has the power to help level the economic playing field in South Africa, facilitating more and better access to money and access to jobs.

Indonesia to Impose Import Curbs to Halt Currency’s Slide
Indonesia plans to restrict imports of capital and consumer goods and accelerate the use of biofuel to cut crude oil purchases to stem a slide in the nation’s currency.

Weekly Impact Investment Market Update: August 3, 2018

Impact Investing & ESG

The Rise of ESG & Sustainable Governance in Blockchain
A changing of the guard is taking place right now, as the Baby Boomer generation moves into retirement and Millennials form a growing proportion of total capital investments.

The Rise of B Corps Highlights the Emergence of a New Way of Doing Business
People increasingly want to work for, buy from and invest in companies that have mission and impact at their heart of their model. So for entrepreneurs, there’s an increasingly attractive business case for an impact-driven approach.

ESG in Fixed Interest Doesn’t Have to Cost: Altius
Fixed income investors could use an environmental, social and governance approach to add another layer of risk management and do no harm to portfolio returns, an Australian ESG bond pioneer says.

Report Finds Growing Interest in Impact Investing Among Wealthy Folks in Canada
Impact entrepreneurs seeking funding: You might want to move to Canada. That’s one conclusion you might draw from Market Momentum: Impact Investing & High Net Worth Canadians, a recently released report from SVX, a Toronto-based impact investing platform.

18 Impact Investing Trends You Haven’t Seen Before and 1 You Have
There are 19 trends in the impact investing world that are most likely unknown to you, because they are developing in pockets and corners of the arena where most people don’t have visibility. One or two of these may be familiar to readers who work in the space.

A New Tax Break for Impact Investing Has Arrived
Financial advisers have a new way to deliver impact investing to wealthy clients — one that comes with substantial tax benefits — courtesy of a fledgling federal tax law.

Sustainable Investing for Institutions
Sustainable investing is at once intuitive and confusing; it seems like the right thing to do, but there are many different ways to do it. It promises a contribution to solving global issues, but perhaps at the expense of investment returns. It represents new risks, opportunities, and ways of doing business in a rapidly changing world of finite resources.


United States & Europe

Fed Leaves Key Rate Unchanged with Economy Growing at ‘Strong Rate’
Federal Reserve officials left U.S. interest rates unchanged and stuck with a plan to gradually lift borrowing costs amid “strong” growth that backs bets for a hike in September.

US Added 157,000 Jobs in July; Unemployment Rate Slips to 3.9%
Over all in July, employers increased payrolls by 157,000, while the unemployment rate edged downward to 3.9 percent, near the 18-year low achieved in May.


Developing Economies

IMF Staff Concludes Visit to Kenya
A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Benedict Clements, visited Kenya from July 23 to August 2, 2018 to hold discussions on the second review under a precautionary Stand-By Arrangement (SBA).

Zambia Committed to Eurobonds; to Pay Debt ‘on Time, in Full’
Zambia is committed to meeting repayment obligations on its Eurobonds “on time and in full,” and comments by the president that it’s seeking help to refinance the securities are not “a signal of failure” to repay the debt, Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe said.

Growth Forecasts Remain Positive for Developing Asia
Asia’s developing economies are on track to register growth of 6% for 2018 and 5.9% for 2019. However, increasing instances of protectionist trade measures from the U.S. and subsequent measures from China have resulted in downside risks to the region’s outlook and could dampen future growth.

Malaysia’s June Export Growth Gathers Pace
Malaysia’s exports growth picked up pace, rising 7.6% in June from a year earlier, thanks to stronger shipments of electronics and demand from China, official data Friday showed.

Weekly Impact Investment Market Update: July 27, 2018

Impact Investing & ESG

The Next Step in Impact Investing: Breaking the Shackles of Extractive Thinking
Those who influence the allocation of capital have an obligation to consider whether current practices solve or perpetuate the challenges impact investing aims to address.

How to Attract the Socially Conscious Investor
Like consumers, investors are voting with their wallets for socially responsible businesses. Here’s how to get their vote.

This Socially Responsible Investor Says What a Company Does is Even More Important than How They Do It
David Fanger is the CEO and founder of Swell, an impact investing platform that helps people invest in equity portfolios that map to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It identifies high-impact, high-potential companies that are focused on a positive future.

Using ESG Ratings to Build a Sustainability Investing Strategy
The authors, who previously studied sustainability ratings issued by the mass media, now turn their attention on rankings used by the investing community itself.


United States & Europe

US Economy Growing at Annual Rate of 4.1%, Fastest Pace in Four Years
The US economy roared ahead in the second quarter of 2018, growing at an annual rate of 4.1%, its fastest pace in four years, the commerce department announced on Friday.


Developing Economies

The Pursuit of Inclusive Growth in Africa
Global growth is projected at 3.9 percent in 2018 and 2019, in line with our April forecasts. But the expansion is becoming less even, and its rate appears to have peaked in some major advanced economies.

In Emerging-Market Rout, Asian Economies are Financially Healthy
Asian emerging economies, particularly those in Southeast Asia, are in a stronger position financially than their global peers to weather risks from rising U.S. interest rates.

Ecuador Economy on Right Track but Reform Follow-Through is Key
Ecuador’s recent turn toward a more market friendly economic policies has lifted investor sentiment toward the Andean country, but follow-through beyond fiscal discipline will be key in order for the positive market reaction to continue.

Weekly Impact Investment Market Update: July 20, 2018

Impact Investing & ESG

How ESG is Shaping Decisions for Many Investors in Asia
Increasingly more Asian Investors are establishing internal ESG standards.

How ESG Investing Entered the Mainstream
The rising importance of environmental, social and governance issues, aimed at improving corporate behavior, has led to charlatans “greenwashing” company credentials to attract investment.

At the Vatican, a Different Type of Investing Conference
There were several more nuns and priests in attendance than at a typical impact investing conference, but the third Vatican Impact Investing Conference, held last week, explored both where the field is headed globally and what role the Roman Catholic Church might have moving forward.

Bloomberg Law Q&A with George Michael Gerstein: Key Issues for Fiduciaries When Investing for a Cause
Many retirement plan participants and plan sponsors are no longer content with investments that simply bring them good returns. They also want their investments to do some good in the world.

ImpactAssets Unveils Portfolio Directory of Impact Investing Deals
ImpactAssets announced the roll-out of the Giving Fund Portfolio Directory, a listing of more than 300 “cutting-edge” impact investments. The online searchable directory represents $425 million in impact investments recommended by donors through the ImpactAssets Giving Fund.


United States & Europe

EU and Japan Sign Trade Deal Covering a Third of the World’s Economy
The European Union and Japan signed a huge free trade deal on Tuesday that cuts or eliminates tariffs on nearly all goods.


Developing Economies

Ghana’s Economy Seen Up to 40% Bigger after Data Overhaul
Ghana’s economy will be up to 40 percent bigger than previously calculated when the West African country completes an overhaul of its economic output data in September, two senior government officials told Reuters on Wednesday.

Nigeria Boost Sees IMF Lifting Sub-Saharan Africa Growth Outlook
Sub-Saharan Africa has Nigeria to thank for better economic growth prospects next year.

IMF Team Due in Zambia to Discuss Its Debt Levels
An International Monetary Fund team is expected in Zambia next week as part of consultations on the country’s debt levels.

Bank Indonesia Stays Hawkish as It Keeps Key Rate on Hold
Indonesia’s central bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged after three hikes in a row helped to stabilize the currency in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy.

Mexico Aims to be Able to Ink NAFTA Deal by End-November
Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said on Wednesday that the goal of Canada, the United States and Mexico is to be in a position to sign a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by the end of November.

Weekly Impact Investment Market Update: July 13, 2018

Impact Investing & ESG

When Will “Socially Responsible” Investing Become Just “Investing
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the global financial crisis, bringing with it an inescapable reminder of the power of the finance industry. While many tangible things have changed over the past decade—from stricter regulation to big banks’ leadership ranks—more subtle, yet no less consequential, shifts are also underway in the financial world.

Morgan Stanley: The Case for Sustainable Investing
Sustainable investing is the future. So insists Audrey Choi, Morgan Stanley’s chief sustainability officer, who presented at Barron’s inaugural Impact Investing Summit last month.

The Remarkable Rise of ESG
The term ESG was first coined in 2005 in a landmark study entitled “Who Cares Wins”. Today, ESG investing is estimated at over US$ 20 trillion in AUM or around a quarter of all professionally managed assets around the world, and its rapid growth builds on the (SRI) movement that has been around much longer.

Banks Pivot Toward Greener Finance in Climate Action Push
Some of Europe’s largest banks are unveiling plans to lend and manage money in greener ways as pressure mounts to account for risks associated with climate change.


United States & Europe

Fed’s Powell Says the U.S. Economy in ‘Good Place’ but Trade is a Risk
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell gave an upbeat assessment of the U.S. economy but warned a sustained period of high tariffs on a wide variety of imports could be harmful to growth.


Developing Economies

The Biggest Economies in Africa
South Africa’s struggle to keep its spot as the second largest economy on the African continent (after Nigeria) has seemingly abated.

Deputy Secretary of State Sullivan’s Remarks at the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum
One of the best features of the AGOA Forum is the wide-ranging conversations from examining how to help women entrepreneurs develop agricultural exports to exploring energy investments.

As China Steps Up, Japan Isn’t Stepping Aside
Tokyo’s government and the private sector are reasserting influence in Asia and beyond.

Indonesia Trade Balance Seen Back to Surplus in June
Indonesia’s trade balance is seen returning to a surplus in June after posting larger-than-expected deficits in the previous two months.

Peru Keeps Rate at 2.75% to Bolster Copper-Fueled Rebound
Peru kept borrowing costs at their lowest level in almost eight years to maintain stimulus to an economy undergoing an a broad recovery fueled by a rebound in mining investment.

Weekly Impact Investment Market Update: July 6, 2018

Impact Investing & ESG

5 Things About Sustainable Investing in the First Half of 2018
Five key takeaways from sustainable investing in the first half of 2018.

Legendary Investor’s Embrace of Sustainable Investing is New, but the Movement Isn’t
Earlier this month, hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones made headlines across the financial press with his comment that “capitalism may need modernizing,” during an interview with CNBC.

Demographic Trends are Driving Demand for Impact Investment- and the Industry is Starting to Adapt
Solving the world’s biggest social and environmental challenges is going to cost money. Lots of money.

ESG Investing and Fixed Income: The Next New Normal?
A quiet but profound pivot is underway in the sustainable investing space – a pivot that, in our view, will reshape markets and elevate fixed income to a place of prominence within the ESG field.

More Investors Engaging in the Battle Against Climate Change: PRI Chairman
Global investors are becoming more aware of the risk of the global warming and thinking that their investments can function as a spearhead to counter the problem, said the head of the world’s leading organization that advocates responsible investment.


United States & Europe

UK Economic Growth Bounces Back as Services Sector Expands
The UK economy has bounced back from a soft patch in the opening months of 2018, according to a closely watched survey of the services sector that showed stronger than expected activity last month.


Developing Economies

Emerging Market Debt to Gain from Monetary Tightening
markets have the policy tools and financing to ride the global growth wave to the top.

Emerging-Market Debt: Expect Volatility – And Opportunity
Summer is just beginning, but emerging-market (EM) bonds and currencies have been on a roller-coaster ride for months now. In markets, though, volatility breeds opportunity – and we still see plenty of that among EM issuers.

Latin America Seen Poised for Rally as Political Dust Settles
The political clouds are clearing, and one of Latin America’s biggest asset managers likes what he sees.

Weekly Impact Investment Market Update: June 29, 2018

Impact Investing & ESG

Cambridge University Throws Weight Behind Impact Investing
The council of Cambridge University has made a landmark commitment to addressing climate change in its £3bn (€3.4bn) endowment fund following months of pressure from students and staff.

How ESG Investing Increases Risk-Adjusted Returns
You may not get to have your cake and eat it, too, but you can have your returns and invest responsibly thanks to ESG investing.

Millennial Money Changes the Game for US Advisers
Growing demand for ethical exposure and ESG products presents challenges and opportunity.

Sign of the Times: Designation for Financial Planners Underscores Demand for Impact Investing
An impact-investing oriented professional designation for financial advisors was recently unveiled by the College of Financial Planning, in collaboration with the US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment.

Wealthy Millennials Fuel Impact Investing Gains
Impact investing continues to gain momentum among high-net-worth Americans in 2018, largely driven by younger investors’ commitment to socially responsible companies.


United States & Europe

UK Economic Growth Revised Higher in First Quarter
The Office for National Statistics unexpectedly revised higher its third and final estimate for UK growth in the first quarter to 0.2%, after two earlier estimates of 0.1%.


Developing Economies

East African Economies to Enjoy Sustained Economy Growth
Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda are East Africa’s economic powerhouses and are enjoying significant economic growth, with GDP forecasted to grow by between 5.2 per cent and 8.5 per cent in 2018, according to Ecobank’s the newly published East Africa section of AfricaFICC.

Tanzania Statistics Body Says GDP Reached $51 Billion in 2017
Tanzania said its gross domestic product in 2017 reached 116.1 trillion shillings, or $51.1 billion, according to the National Bureau of statistics.

How Private Equity is Shaking Up Southeast Asia
Western funds rush in as market reforms and rapid growth open up new opportunities.

Weekly Impact Investment Market Update: June 22, 2018

Impact Investing & ESG

Money Managers are Flocking to a $23 Trillion Investing Strategy that Morgan Stanley Says is Ready to Take Off
Environmental, social, and governance investing — also known as ESG — has exploded in popularity, with roughly $23 trillion being invested with at least a partial ESG mandate.

Investors are Right to Consider ESG Risks, Says New Report by Corporate Governance Association
Investors are right to consider ESG risks because they can impact the worth of intangible assets which make up more than 80 percent of company value, said a new report by the Society for Corporate Governance.

84% of Investors Apply, or are Considering, ESG – Morgan Stanley
Eighty-four percent of asset owners globally are pursuing or considering ESG investing, said a survey released Monday by the Morgan Stanley (MS) Institute for Sustainable Investing and Morgan Stanley Investment Management.

ESG Roundtable: Great for Society, Good for Investors
Someday, it will be hard to imagine a time when investors didn’t study environmental impact, workplace culture, and reputational risk as part of their routine due diligence on companies.

Best Practices in Impact Management Begin to Take Hold
Impact investors are figuring out how to integrate impact throughout their investment process in ways that are efficient, effective, and authentic.

Fidelity Charitable Offers Impact Investing Education for Advisors
Fidelity Charitable, a major donor-advised-fund sponsor, announced Tuesday that it has introduced a new impact investing module as part of its practice management program to educate advisors about impact investing trends and approaches.

ESG Investing: The New Frontier for Investors
A distinct trend has emerged in recent years among the global investment community. Investors are increasingly looking beyond just the pecuniary returns they could earn on potential investments; instead, many are now also concerned about the wider impact their investments could have on the world, with regards to such issues as climate change, human-rights issues and gender discrimination.

Not Considering ESG Could Mean Failing Fiduciary Duty: Compenswiss
Investors that do not consider ESG risks in their portfolios risk breaching their fiduciary duty to members, according to the investment chief of one of Switzerland’s biggest asset owners.


United States & Europe

What is the U.S. Dollar Saying about the Economy?
The US dollar has rebounded in foreign-exchange markets since late March and continues to remain strong as the US economy remains relatively strong.


Developing Economies

Here’s the Projected Growth Rate for South Africa’s Economy
South Africa’s economy is expected to recover from a poor start this year, rescued by stronger growth in the rest of the world, a Reuters poll found on Wednesday.

Argentina Wins Upgrade to Emerging Status after Nine Years
Argentina won promotion to emerging-market status for the first time in almost a decade, rewarding President Mauricio Macri for his efforts.