SNAPSHOT2 min read

Family Offices: A roadmap to impact

Family offices around the world control some $10 trillion in assets, according to data* from London Business School. They are in a unique position to adopt impact investing practices, driving positive outcomes while continuing to generate attractive returns. 

11/01/2024
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Authors

Emily Petersen
Portfolio Director

Families thinking of adopting an impact strategy face many questions. First, there are the big strategic dilemmas: What is impact investing? How do we secure family approval for this approach? Once a decision has been made to follow this path, there are many other issues to consider. What does best practice look like? What team and governance do we need? And how do we work with other market participants to drive our impact ambitions?   

In partnership with Schroders Family Office Service, the Impact Investing Institute has answered many of these questions in a new guide called Family Offices: a roadmap to impact. This handbook is anchored on the advice and experience of pioneering impact investors from the family office sector. Drawing on case studies from the UK and around the world, it aims to provide families interested in impact investing with clear and practical guidance.

Some of the profiled families have adopted a strategy of “impact by design,” establishing family offices with formal impact mandates. Others are “shifting to impact.” This includes multigenerational family offices that have been run using more traditional approaches but are now embarking on a new impactful chapter. 

Featured case studies include:
Impact by design

  • Vala Capital: a sustainability and impact venture capital investment firm based in the UK, founded by technology entrepreneur Jasper Smith. Vala Capital was founded as a vehicle for managing personal investments and has since launched funds focused on sustainable and impact investing.[i]
  • RS Group: founded by Annie Chen in 2009, RS Group is a family office based in Hong Kong. It is a pioneer in the Asian market for its focus on impact and its thoughtful integration of philanthropy and investment.[ii]
  • Blink CV: an international single-family office comprising impact and technology professionals headquartered in the Netherlands.[iii] The office manages a broad range of projects focused on three main impact goals: influencing behaviour towards a more sustainable future; supporting sustainable, innovative agriculture and promoting regenerative tourism.
  • Tripple: an Australian family office founded by three siblings in 2018 focused on using capital as a force for good.[iv]

Shifting to impact

  • PFC: a fa­mily office ma­naging the wealth of a branch of the Marzotto Family. Headquartered in Milan, Italy, PFC aims to become a European leader in inve­sting for social and environmental impact. It makes co-investments and as a fund Limited Partner.[v]
  • DOB Equity: established by the Dutch Tobé family as part of their broader family office approach. Since its founding in 2011 DOB Equity has invested c.€75m million in 26 portfolio companies in East Africa, focused on social entrepreneurs contributing solutions to local social and environmental issues.[vi]

While there is no “one way” to become an impact investor, the guide details 12 common experiences and practices that help families chart an impact investing course.

  1. Insight that drives a new direction
  2. Understanding the market
  3. Advocating for impact within the family
  4. Articulating family values
  5. Creating an impact investing framework
  6. Developing a good impact investing Investment Policy Statement
  7. How best to start allocating
  8. Building and equipping your team
  9. The role of impact investing across entities: family estate, philanthropy, businesses and trusts
  10. Working with external advisers and managers
  11. Impact measurement and management
  12. Finding community and collaboration

The handbook will go live on the Impact Investing Institute website on 30th January. Learn more at: https://www.impactinvest.org.uk/our-work/projects/family-offices/

A launch event aimed at family office advisers and practitioners will offer the opportunity to hear from impact investing leaders including:

  •  Kieron Boyle, Chief Executive, Impact Investing Institute 
  • Gio Notarbartolo, Impact Investor, PFC Family Office 
  • Jasper Smith, Founder, Vala Capital  
  • Lyn Tomlinson, Head of Impact and Philanthropy, Schroders Wealth Management 

We will also be holding a workshop in the first half of the year for family members and family office practitioners. To find out more about these events, please get in touch with your Schroders Family Office Service contact. 

Should you wish to join us, we look forward to welcoming you to a community that recognises the power of family capital to deliver positive impact.

*Lessons learned at the LBS Family Office Conference 2023 | London Business School

[i] https://www.valacap.com/about/

[ii] https://www.rsgroup.asia/

[iii] https://www.blinkcv.com/

[iv] https://www.tripple.com.au/about-us

[v] https://www.pfcinvest.it/en/

[vi] https://www.dobequity.nl/

Authors

Emily Petersen
Portfolio Director

Topics

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