JULY 2018

Jeff Finkelman Featured in Part II of the Conservation Finance Network’s Series on Conservation Investments – “How to Get an Impact Investor’s Attention”

Part 1 of the two-part series describing the gap between impact capital and conservation investments can be read here.

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The Conservation Finance Network followed its first installment of coverage on conservation investments with an article on “How to Get an Impact Investor’s Attention,” featuring Athena Capital’s Jeff Finkelman, senior research associate, impact investments.

In order for conservation managers to attract capital from impact investors, says the Conservation Finance Network, they need to be aware of asset owner’s specific risk tolerances. Professionals in the impact investing community shared that they prioritize an “honest assessment of risk” and prioritize evaluation of how an investment opportunity can fit into a client’s larger portfolio.

“There is an interplay between issues [our clients] care about and the needs of the portfolio,” said Finkelman. He further noted that working in the impact space often means working with new or unproven managers, which can be a risky proposition. To the extent that investment managers are honest about the risks an investment opportunity contains, the more prepared asset owners can be in mitigating those risks.

The article further notes that impact metrics are an “important way to link outcomes to dollars invested, enhance the rigor of impact strategies, and encourage greater participation and investment in the space.”

“Measurement is important—it’s an area we are always trying to improve,” said Finkelman, noting that Athena Capital collects and aggregates information that investment fund managers make available. However, Finkelman also voiced that reporting from the fund level will need more standardization for impact investing to continue to grow.

While Finkelman and other impact professionals agreed that fund managers could benefit from taking a more integrated approach to how impact can be generated and allocated on a portfolio level, there is also plenty of optimism for the future of the impact space.

“We are of the view that impact and return are not mutually exclusive. There are opportunities to achieve all objectives,” Finkelman said. “The set of opportunities is quickly growing and will continue to grow.”

The full article 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.