Case Study Cordiant Capital – Principle 5
Describe why your organization believes that there is strong promise for impact investing, including perhaps what you think is the business case for impact investing.
- Cordiant Capital believes that impact investing is increasingly gaining traction among return-driven institutional investors. What used to be almost exclusively the purview of development finance institutions, and a handful of foundations and endowments, is now being also seriously considered by pension funds and insurance companies. Should these institutional investors become fully engaged, the magnitude of development impact could increase many-fold, as the monies they manage eclipse those of all of the current impact investors.
- For this change to occur, institutional investors must feel confident that they will get a compelling financial return, that the risks are identified and well managed, and that the development outcomes reported by asset managers are meaningful, accurate, and independently audited.
- When deploying capital on behalf of pensioners and insurance policy holders, the manager’s primary duty must always be a fiduciary one. But they can still achieve significant development impact by the choices they make with regard to geography, sectors, and specific companies. For example, a mobile tower deal in Latin America can deliver a compelling risk-adjusted financial return, and at the same time provide transformational connectivity for the small businesses, civil society organizations, and families that need them.
- Commercially-minded managers, like Cordiant, are best positioned to make this type of “systems-level” impact. When managing hundreds of millions of dollars, it is impractical to deploy capital in small increments. That is best left to the boutique, developmental firms that seek change and improvement at a granular level. Although vitally important, this seldom generates the commercial return that would make a portfolio of such entities attractive to return-seeking pension funds and insurance companies. However, Cordiant’s large-scale investments into platforms such as mobile telephone networks, food processing facilities, wind mill farms, and transportation hubs can earn both attractive financial returns and also achieve meaningful and measurable development impact for large numbers of people.