Q&A w/Ann Owen: Pure's New Director of Impact Investing
“There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than follow your passions – in a way that serves the world and you.” - Richard Branson, Entrepreneur
Pure Portfolios is pleased to announce our newest addition, Ann Owen, CFA. Ann will be responsible for building out Pure Portfolios' Impact investing platform. You can read Ann's full bio here.
We thought an interactive Q&A would be a great way to introduce Ann and to learn more about Impact investing.
How did you end up at Pure Portfolios?
After retiring from a long career in traditional money management, I knew my encore position would need to be with a progressive group who was truly committed to Impact investing. I had worked with David years ago and we'd managed to create a fun working environment in the midst of the worst financial crisis of our generation. Years later, when David introduced me to Pure's client driven model, I knew I found the right place. The opportunity to build Pure's impact platform made it a no-brainer.
What are you passionate about?
Personally, I'm concerned about climate change and the planet I'm leaving to my children. I have been thinking about how I could leverage my years of money management experience to make real change. After hearing from many clients about their interest in having their portfolios work in a way that reflects their values, I realized building an impact platform was a way for me to meet a client need and leave the planet in a better state.
What does Social Impact investing mean to you?
Impact investing is an approach to money management that is driven by the values and beliefs of the investor. Impact investing is using capital to create value, but in a sustainable way.
Each person or family is driven by different beliefs and there are investment options for a variety of issues people feel passionately about. The most common categories are environmental, social justice, and corporate governance issues (ESG). Impact investing has evolved to include faith-based, gender equality, and human rights.
What are some common misconceptions about Social Impact Investing?
The most common misconception is that investors must accept lower returns in order to honor their values and beliefs. According to the Harvard Business School, incorporating ESG information into the analysis of an investment opportunity is material to performance. In addition, companies committed to ESG are finding competitive advantages in product, labor, and capital markets.
Who would benefit from a Social Impact portfolio?
ESG analysis helps investors avoid expensive and value-detracting problems. For people who are interested in viewing their investment capital through a lens of their values, Impact investing makes sense.
How can we track the impact of our values-based portfolio?
An impediment to tracking is a lack of reporting standards. I believe these are improving and evolving. Some of the more common environmental issues (carbon reduction) are being better tracked and reported. Effectively tracking portfolio impact is a challenge I'm looking forward to tackling.
We are answering the call from clients to delve into this exciting opportunity. Some companies put out the socially responsible shingle merely for marketing/PR purposes. Our aim is to build an Impact investing platform that makes a difference in the issues our clients care deeply about. Adding Impact investing to our core offering of fees tied to outcomes, client education, and technology is an important next step to the evolution of Pure Portfolios.