A List of Top Impact Investing Resources for Financial Advisors Inspired by the Total Impact Portfolio Challenge

SOCAP Global March 10, 2020

Financial advisors have an unparalleled opportunity to help create widespread positive impact through market based solutions. To help train the next generation of financial advisors, wealth managers, and financial services providers in how to execute impact portfolios across asset classes, Total Impact has again partnered with Wharton Social Impact Initiative and Bank of America to present the Total Impact Portfolio Challenge. This year’s Challenge finalists will present their work to a panel of expert judges virtually on May 13, 2020 from 3-5pm EST. Register here for free.

To win the Total Impact Portfolio Challenge, teams of graduate students from all over the United States vie to build the strongest “Total Impact” portfolio–integrating impact across asset classes. Competing teams receive a hypothetical investor profile that includes the client’s financial and social impact goals, risk profile, and liquidity needs. For the 2020 competition, the “client” is a $250mm university endowment. Each team has written an investment policy statement and is now in the process of constructing a portfolio containing a mix of securities, funds, and investments that will meet their investor’s goals. Throughout the competition Wharton Social Impact Initiative provides support to all of the teams in the form of impact investing training, access to research data, and other educational materials. 

To serve aspiring and practicing financial advisors and other service providers who are interested in learning how to integrate impact across investment portfolios, we’ve put together a list of online tools and educational resources we share with the Total Impact Portfolio Challenge teams, as well as other valuable sources of information about the impact investing ecosystem. 

Total Impact Portfolio Challenge Resources and Tools

  • Toniic Impact Portfolio Tool allows investors to classify every underlying investment by its intended impact, liquidity, expected returns, geography, management structures, and other variables. This Excel-based tool helps financial advisors and investors document the interrelationships between asset classes and the impact of a portfolio of investments. 

  • CFA Institute Investment Foundations® Program Curriculum, a free seven module curriculum for aspiring financial management professionals offered by a global, independent organization with a mission to serve society by promoting ethics, education, and professional excellence for the investment management industry.

  • Impact Management Project (IMP) report: “Having a Positive Impact through Public Markets Investments.” The IMP is a forum for building global consensus on how to measure, manage and report impact. This report offers case studies that reveal how investors collect and track impact data to guide decision-making during diligence and ongoing efforts to improve impact performance.

  • Wharton Social Impact Initiative’s Project Sage 2.0: Tracking Venture Capital with a Gender Lens” A landscape analysis of structured private equity, venture capital, and private debt vehicles with a gender lens that assesses the growth and trends in this space from 2017 to 2018. This report, authored by Sandi Hunt and Sherryl Kuhlman of Wharton Social Impact and gender lens investing pioneer Suzanne Biegel, paints a picture of the state of the field for gender lens investing. You can read seven key findings from the report here

  • Wharton Research Data Services (WRDS) 

    The WRDS platform provides business intelligence data and research and analytics tools covering multiple disciplines, including ESG. Total Impact Portfolio Challenge teams are granted free access to WRDS. Institutional subscriptions to the platform, which currently serves over 50,000 corporate, academic, government and nonprofit clients around the world, are available by contacting [email protected].

Other Research Tools 

  • ImpactSpace, an open database run by ImpactAlpha for the impact investing market–tracking investments in solutions to environmental and social challenges, including profiles on more than 10,000 impact ventures, funds and deals.

  • ImpactAssets 50, an annually updated list that helps investors and their financial advisors discover experienced impact investment firms and explore the landscape of potential investment options. Recently updated for 2020!

Online Classes, Guides, and Toolkits

  • Fundamentals of Sustainable and Impact Investment from The Forum for Responsible and Sustainable Investment. US SIF, an introductory class for investment advisors, financial planners and other professionals who want to learn the basics of SRI, and to incorporate it into investment portfolios and client conversations.

  • Impact Investing Toolkit from Spectrum Impact, a strategic advisory firm founded by impact investing expert Rehana Nathoo, that includes step-by-step how-to guides on product design and strategic design for impact. 

Total Impact Philadelphia, co-hosted by ImpactPHL, will convene financial advisors and other financial service providers to share executable impact investing strategies across impact classes, and offer answers to questions around impact investments, due diligence, measurement tools, and assessments.

Impact Investing
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