JULY 2018

Jeff Finkelman Featured in Conservation Finance Network Article on the Gap between Impact Capital and Conservation Investments

Jeff Finkelman, senior research associate, impact investments, was featured in a two part series on conservation investments by the Conservation Finance Network. Part I, “Impact Investors Discuss How They View Conservation Investments,” explores the growing gap between available impact capital and deployment to conservation managers. The article cites research by the Global Impact Investing Network and Forest Trends to conclude, “The rate of conservation investments does not appear to be keeping pace with the increase in available capital. To access the growing, underdeployed pool of impact capital, environmental entrepreneurs must better understand how to appeal to impact investors.”

Finkelman agrees, noting that clients of Athena Capital are typically most interested in generating a positive social or environmental impact, while also achieving market-rates returns. “We generally don’t have much demand for strategies that rely on giving up return as a means for generating impact. . . As an investment advisor, we place a large emphasis on the financial risk and return profiles of the strategies we consider,” said Finkelman.

Interviewees throughout the article observe that within the growing world of impact investing, there is increased interest in investments with environmental outcomes. Finkelman estimates that a quarter of Athena Capital’s clients integrate impact investing into their investment portfolios, and commented that the firm develops customized impact investing strategies based on the needs of the individual client.

The article also highlights Athena Capital’s dual approach to working with impact asset owners. The first step is developing “landscape reviews,” which research issue areas to figure out what the impact means in that area and what opportunities exist. The second step includes the portfolio management team talking to the client about goals and drafting an Investment Policy Statement to serve as a guideline for how the portfolio should be managed.

“Our clients share their interests and objectives with us, but we also hope our research helps them learn about investment opportunities they may not otherwise have considered,” said Finkelman.

The full article can be read here.  Part II of the series can be read here.

Jeff Finkelman is a Senior Research Associate, Impact Investments, at Athena Capital, where he concentrates on ESG and impact investing across all asset classes. He joined Athena Capital from the U.S. Small Business Administration, having served as an investment officer within the SBA’s Office of Investment and Innovation.