What kind of returns can I expect?
Many of our colleagues who are part of the sustainable, responsible, impact (SRI) investing sub-industry design their portfolios to behave just like the S&P 500 or some other traditional benchmark. Our portfolios are intentionally custom crafted. We emphasize diversification and risk controls but we do not attempt to match returns of any specific index.
We are at the very early stages of quantifying enterprise value impact of ESG (environmental, social, governance) factors. Research into ESG (here) suggests that these factors have a neutral impact on expected average returns but that ESG factors can reduce the volatility of returns and protect against the downside losses.
How do you define Local?
Our portfolios are designed to offer local investors the opportunity to invest in regionally based businesses. For regional representation, we look for any of the following:
Corporate headquarters in a target state/region
Significant (15%+) employee base in target state/region
Significant (15%+) asset investment in target state/region
do you invest in privately owned Comanies?
No. We focus on public capital markets for two reasons. First, public markets are liquid and accessible for clients who are ready to put their money to work on their own unique timeline. Second, the public markets are plagued by short-termism and detachment which offers a great opportunity for purpose driven investors.
What do you mean by Reasonable Valuation?
Our process favors companies that exhibit leadership in commitment to local communities through high labor standards, stewardship of the environment, the production of high-quality and safe products; and managed in an ethical manner. We also consider the level of improvement that companies make relative to their industry peers.
RESEARCH:We begin our assessment of companies using industry research from leading sustainability and governance research providers. High or improving ESG scores point to companies that have an integrated business strategy.
PURPOSE: We review the mission/vision/values statements. We want to know what companies are communicating to sustain and guide corporate culture.
VISITS: We make site visits to companies headquarters and places of work to assess leadership and sentiment.
SERIOUS AND RIGOROUS: We believe that what gets measured gets managed. We look for companies who track their progress towards key corporate citizenship goals.