Opening session – 11:45 am
Impact investing is growing in popularity amongst investors – particularly millennials and women - and is a valuable tool for financial advisors to engage with their clients. Although the industry is described by a myriad of terms – SRI, ESG, mission based investing - impact investments are unique in that they offer both a financial and social return. They are available across all asset classes, numerous issue areas and are accessible to retail investors as well as high-net-worth individuals and institutions.
Financial advisors are finding that impact investing is a useful way to differentiate their practice as well as build deeper relationships with clients. Impact investing options catalyze new conversations and an excitement that can benefit the financial advisory industry.
Katherine St. Onge, Calvert Foundation
Katherine St. Onge is a Senior Officer on the Investor Relations team. She is responsible for building relationships with individual investors, institutions and financial advisors to increase their understanding of Calvert Foundation’s impact investing product and services. Prior to Calvert Foundation, Katherine worked at the Aspen Institute where she focused on building entrepreneurial and early-stage investment ecosystems in the Middle East and North Africa. She also worked for Louisiana Economic Development, crafting policies and strategies to enhance the state’s economic competitiveness, and Goldman Sachs, managing both equity and fixed-income investment products. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in economics and mathematics from Bucknell University and her M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Investment Opportunities - 1:30 pm
In response to increasing demand from investors, asset managers have introduced a wide array of products across asset classes and impact objectives. During this session investment managers will discuss product offerings that provide broad access to both financial and social objectives for investors as well as the research and portfolio construction process.
Moderator – Karen Florez, CFA, Minneapolis Foundation
James Spidle, Breckinridge Capital Advisors
James, Vice President, is a consultant relations manager at Breckinridge. He also heads the firm’s Social Charitable Committee. In his role, James assists in setting overall consultant relations and business development strategy and manages many of the firm’s institutional relationships. He joined the firm in 2010 and has over 15 years of investment industry experience. Prior to Breckinridge, he spent over eight years at Gannett Welsh & Kotler LLC. where his primary responsibilities included business development and relationship management within the firm’s Sales and Client Service Group. He started his career in the Mutual Funds Department at Loomis Sayles & Co., first as an associate in the Sales and Marketing Group, then as an a quantitative/performance analyst in the Fund Administration Group. James is a CFA charterholder and a member of the Boston Security Analysts Society. James received a BA in psychology from Colby College. He currently holds a FINRA Series 65 license and is a member of the CFA Institute.
Molly Ono, Impax Asset Management
Molly Ono leads Impax Asset Management’s West Coast office and focuses on business development and client service. She works with institutional investors and their consultants to identify and implement strategies capturing environmental and resource optimization opportunities. Molly has over 15 years of experience in institutional asset management. Prior to joining Impax she was a Director at Invesco serving on the Institutional Sales and Service team and worked with Foundation, Endowment, Corporate, Taft-Hartley and Public Fund investors across all strategy lines including fixed income, equity, private equity and real estate.
Molly Ono currently serves an advisory role for the Portland Alternative Investment Association Board and is a member of Portland Women in Investment Management. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology.
Karen Q. Wong, CFA, Mellon Capital
Karen Wong is Managing Director and Head of Equity Portfolio Management at Mellon Capital. With over 17 years of experience, she is responsible for overseeing all equity indexing and beta strategies, including exchange traded funds (ETFs). Karen is also responsible for the refinement and implementation of the equity portfolio management process as well as the development and launch of the Carbon Efficiency Strategy, the firm’s first green beta product.
Prior to joining Mellon Capital, she worked as a security analyst at Redwood Securities. Karen is a member of Mellon Capital's Senior Management Committee, Investment Management Committee, Risk Management Committee, Fiduciary Committee, Trade Management Oversight Committee and ESG Committee. Karen also holds memberships with the S&P Index Advisory Panel, Russell Index Client Advisory Board, MSCI Index Client Advisory and FTSE Americas Regional Advisory Committee.
Karen received her M.B.A. in Finance from San Francisco State University. She is a member of the CFA Institute and the CFA Society of San Francisco.
Investors Panel- Due Diligence and Implementation - 2:30 pm
More and more organizations and wealth managers are adding ESG and impact products to their portfolios. How is due diligence on these strategies different? What questions are intentional investors asking portfolio managers and how can managers respond effectively to demand.
Moderator –Scott Barrington, NorthSky Capital
Steve Dixon, CFA, Principal, Birchwood Financial Partners
Working with individuals to manage their portfolios, Steve Dixon takes a long-term, disciplined approach with a bias toward protecting against downside risks. He focuses on diversification and making sure Birchwood clients are in a position of not having to react to what’s going on in the markets. Steve’s experience and interest in ESG Impact investing began over 10 years ago, voting proxies for Portico Benefit Services. At Birchwood, Steve is responsible for managing all client portfolios, of which approximately 15 percent are engaged in ESG Impact investing. Mutual funds are the primary vehicle used to build client portfolios, but Steve will also invest client assets in community investment notes in the right circumstances.
Texas Hemmaplardh, CFA Principal, Slocum
Texas joined Slocum in 1997. He has expertise in capital markets research and portfolio construction across multiple asset classes, particularly the integration of alternative investments into diversified risk-controlled portfolios. He frequently makes presentations to institutional investors on asset allocation and alternative investments. Texas began at Slocum as an Analyst and eventually moved to our Research Team. In Research, Texas rose to the position of Director of Global Fixed Income Research, and then held the roles of Director of Alternative Investments and Director of Hedge Fund Strategies, before returning to client service as a Principal and Practice Leader on Slocum’s Endowment and Foundation Team.
Prior to joining Slocum, Texas worked as Finance Director for GlobaLearn, Inc., a not-for-profit educational internet company in Connecticut. Texas holds a B.A. in Economics from Yale University, an M.B.A. (with honors) from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, and was in the Advanced Studies Program at Oxford University. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder, and as such, is a member of the CFA Institute, as well as the CFA Society of Minnesota.
Rochelle Gunn, CFA, CIO, HRK Group, Inc.
Rochelle Gunn is the chief investment officer of HRK Group, Inc. (HRK), a single-family office in Saint Paul, Minnesota. HRK provides integrated financial services to 20 fourth through sixth generation family members. Rochelle is responsible for setting the strategic asset allocation for two global investment portfolio and execution of all investment activities to meet the long term goals for the current and future beneficiaries of the family’s wealth.
Prior to joining HRK in 2008 Rochelle served as portfolio manager at Waycrosse, Inc. a single-family office in Wayzata, Minnesota. At Waycrosse she was responsible for managing the global fixed income and global active equities portfolios. Rochelle is a Chartered Financial Analyst and has a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics.
ESG Investing Past, Present and Future - 3:30 pm
Although interest is social impact using investment strategies has surged dramatically in the last three years, pioneers in this area have worked to combine financial return and positive social and environmental impacts for more than four decades. Strategies have included screening out stocks of companies with negative ESG records and positive choices of stocks with a positive record, Community Development Investing at both below market and market returns, public policy advocacy, legal action on rare occasions and shareholder engagement with companies including dialogue and shareholder resolutions for votes at annual stockholder meetings.
This session will discuss the history and evolution of ESG investing and impact measurement, the current state of the market and some of the trends that are developing for the future.
Interviewer: Elizabeth McGeveran, Program Director Impact Investing, McKnight Foundation
Interview with Timothy Smith, Walden Asset Management
Tim Smith serves as the Director of ESG Shareowner Engagement at Walden Asset Management, a division of Boston Trust & Investment Management Company. Walden has been a leader in sustainable and responsible investing (SRI) since 1975. As of June 30, 2015, Walden managed approximately $2.7 billion in assets for individual and institutional clients.
Mr. Smith joined Walden in 2000 to lead Walden’s ongoing shareholder engagement program to promote greater corporate leadership on ESG issues. This includes company dialogues, shareholder proposals, proxy voting, and public policy advocacy. One of Walden’s priority issues is Board diversity pursued through letters, company dialogues, shareholder resolution and proxy voting.
Previously, Mr. Smith served as executive director of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) for 24 years.