Truth or dare – transparency by vanguard social investors reveals risks and returns in a maturing market

A landmark study released today via the Government’s open data portal reveals for the first time historic performance of UK social investment activity.

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The total financial performance (comparing all capital draw downs with all capital, interest and fee payments) over the 12 year period was negative 9.25% (-0.77% annualised)*. Counterintuitively, this is remarkably good given that pricing of capital was driven by affordability and not risk adjusted. Moreover, most of these social investments were made after the investees had been refused finance from High Street institutions. They would therefore be classified as high risk deals.Read More »

Social Investing – from Hype to Impact?

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Impact investment is blossoming. What started as a fad for idealists is gradually becoming a mainstream concept often discussed by fund management hotshots and company executives. The concept itself is certainly appealing. Investors are realising that they have the possibility to help solve some of the world’s most pressing social problems and make a profit at the same time.

In the aftermath of the financial crisis, the old debate of whether financial markets can become a force for social good has been rekindled. For all of the buzz around it… read more >

Much is happening in the UK and in other countries. This article focuses on the European context where the EU has set as a priority social entrepreneurship and social investment. This is building of a long tradition associated with the social economy. Steps are being taken to ease cross border social investment. Originally published by Philanthropy Impact Magazine: 6 – SUMMER / AUTUMN 2014, authored by Stephen J. Barnett, Beatriz Jambrina Canseco and Karl Richter (Euclid Network)

A new Crystal Palace: phoenix rising or setting sun?

20131005-124326cropped Local residents ‘outside the tent’. Photo: Sarah Glover.

Local residents, who were excluded from a media conference in Crystal Palace Park, pressed their ears to the windows so that they could hear what was being said. On 3 Oct 2013, London Mayor Boris Johnson and Chinese billionaire Mr Ni Zhaoxing announced plans by Mr Ni’s ZhongRong Group to resurrect the Victorian Crystal Palace. News of the scheme has for some time been leaking disorderly via the media – a PR faux pas without question.

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The fancy names aren’t helping – let’s call it investment and get on with doing it properly

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The extent of debate (and often disagreement) about the definition of social impact investment is fascinating – exploring in great depth the nuances and prerequisite principles for investing in a way that seeks both positive social outcomes and financial returns. But this discourse risks being divisive and self-defeating. Does this complexity actually attract or repel new investors from engaging in this exciting market?

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Osborne’s 2013 Budget for the UK – giving love a chance?

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A committed fiscal conservative like UK Chancellor George Osborne was never going to deviate from Government’s hard-wired policy of austerity. Nobody really expected a change of course in his 2013 Budget, not even after his recent humiliation by Moody’s downgrade of Britain’s triple A credit rating – a humiliation not because of the fundamental impact of the downgrade, which was negligible, but because Osborne himself had placed such high importance on retaining the AAA status.

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World’s first financial index for impact investing unveiled

Press release: 11 December 2012, London (reblogged here 12 Dec)

Logo9-FINAL_Engaged_X_medresEngaged Investment has launched a pilot to test the creation of the world’s first investment index for the growing emerging market of social investment (‘impact investing’, as it is called globally). This is an important next step forward towards creating the infrastructure needed for the global expansion of social finance.

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Press release: Making Good in Social Impact Investment

Thursday 6th October 2011

UK at watershed moment for social impact investing with potential to be global leader

Social impact investment has the potential to evolve from being an emerging market to a very large, mature investment market attracting mainstream investors, according to a report published today. Making Good in Social Impact Investment: Opportunities in an Emerging Asset Class argues that the UK is well placed to be a global leader in the field, as social impact investment builds on our record as home to a well-developed, not-for-profit, charitable and voluntary sector and our historic strengths in financial services.

Available for download:

Adobe PDF (Free)

Amazon Kindle (£0.77)

Apple iTunes (Free)

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