A Total Impact conversation with John Morris, Managing Partner, SOCAP Group
Total Impact is an initiative of The Good Capital Project and SOCAP. This event was developed to meet the demands of Financial Advisors, Wealth Managers, Family Offices, and Investors seeking actionable, executable information in order to build portfolios that drive impact across asset classes.
Total Impact will convene April 26 and 27, 2018 at the Cira Centre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In the months leading up to Total Impact we will be interviewing key leaders in the space who have partnered with us to help grow the impact investing space through this event. This week we feature our conversation with John Morris, Managing Partner & Board Member of the SOCAP Group and a member of the Good Capital Project Design Lab.
Q: What is a “Total Impact” portfolio?
A: We have named this conference Total Impact to provide an aspirational focus on embedding social impact across all asset classes within a portfolio. This conference is designed to expose the audience to impact investing opportunities across asset classes, both globally and locally in the Philadelphia region. We hope this conference inspires more portfolios to incorporate a “Total Impact” strategy to achieve both social and financial returns.
The Socially Responsibility integration is a major trend affecting the capital markets. Few advisors have committed to gaining expertise in this space, but studies all point to growing demand from clients. The opportunity to teach your clients will transcend generations and position you as an expert to attract new clients.
Q: What are the three biggest opportunities for investment advisors?
A: The first is the the opportunity for financial advisors to become better teachers–and in doing so–to build stronger relationships with their clients. People often develop strong and long lasting relationships with their mentors, teachers and coaches. But in order to be a good teacher you must keep learning the most relevant material.
The second is the opportunity to become the best version of yourself. By mastering this field you are transforming your business to not only provide financial returns to your clients, you are helping your clients make a greater human impact on their world, which makes this work more satisfying.
The third is the creation of a peer network. The people who will come to Total Impact will mix active practitioners, novices who have only started to learn, and individuals who are curious to learn, but all of them share a desire for better outcomes through the deployment of capital. As a group, they also share strong values, leadership qualities, and a sense of accountability in what they do. This is a group I want in my peer network.
Q: What are the biggest challenges facing financial advisors and investors who want to create “total impact” portfolios (with impact across asset classes).
A: The lack of a ready-made advice framework is the first challenge I see. Financial advisors in particular need access to a clear advice framework for their clients and relevant training on how to use it. Such a framework would provide the right questions to ask to identify the appropriate start on the SRI-ESG-Impact spectrum and practical information on how to incorporate the Sustainable Development Goals.
The second challenge is a dearth of opportunities to learn from peers who have successfully incorporated total impact. There have been a number of products that have come to the market claiming environmental, sustainability, or governance benefits. There are investments that now have elements of philanthropy and financial return. There are products that are values based locally and globally. We need a forum where financial advisors can get answers to questions such as: Where do you find these products? How do they fit in a portfolio to meet client’s financial objectives and personal values? Who has done this well? What has been their experience?
The third challenge I see is around unanswered questions about measurement and research. Too many advisors are wondering: What research should be cited to build confidence for advisors and clients? Which measurement tools are considered best practice? How do I provide the non financial measurement back to clients to assess social impact?
Q: What takeaways do you hope attendees will leave with?
- Practical, executable approaches to build portfolios that have the greatest financial and social outcomes.
- Exposure to some of the best leaders in the field.
- Educational tools attendees can take with them.
- Access to impact investment opportunities locally in Philadelphia as well as nationally and globally.
- Interactive, fast paced, multi-dimensional, design thinking approach to two days of learning.
- Opportunities to join multiple networks in this field.
- Total Impact! We see the Total Impact launch event as a starting point of a continuous journey for everyone who attends. The Good Capital Project, ImpactPHL, Envestnet, and ImpactAlpha are already discussing future design sessions and impact investor roundtables. we believe this event will pave the way to. Everybody wins: investors, advisors, the community, and the world. And we will have fun the whole way.
Q: Why Philadelphia?
Philadelphia has always been a place where values-based leadership thrives. It is now one of America’s top three cities for asset management and financial innovation. Our hope is that this joint effort between Good Capital Project, ImpactPHL, Envestnet and ImpactAlpha and our other key sponsors is a catalyst for advisors and investors to establish Philly as a leader in America in shaping the capital markets to be a tremendous force for good.
John Morris is Managing Partner & Board Member of the SOCAP Group and a member of the Good Capital Project Design Lab. He is a Co-Founder and passive shareholder of Snowden Capital Advisors, an independent boutique wealth management firm. Prior to Snowden, John was Chairman and CEO of Clearbrook Financial, an institutional asset management consultant and turn key asset management platform to serve family offices and institutional investors. John spent 23 years at Merrill Lynch working with global clients, initially for 15 years in London and Dubai, and then in New York where he was Chairman of Latin America. John later had responsibility for all International Product and Marketing. John graduated from Bucknell University with a BA in Economics. He also served as President of the American Business Council in Dubai.
John Morris will be a speaker at Total Impact in Philadelphia.
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