Investment Practice Track


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The Investment Practice track features discussion at the cutting edge of the investment industry through peer-to-peer sharing among Confluence Practitioners. This year’s sessions look at selecting emerging managers, using Donor Advised Funds for impact investing, going 100% into PRI’s, and the future of banking, among other topics.

Ins and Outs of Carve Outs (Tuesday, March 5th | 10:00 AM)
Organized with Cornerstone Capital Group

Carve-outs are an increasingly popular way for mission investors to explore new practices. While a gradual, educational, and incremental strategy is often advisable, investors must also consider a methodical approach to ensure that investments provide meaningful outcomes and measurable performance. This session will explore the considerations in choosing a carve-out strategy through the eyes of experience.

Speakers

  • Craig Metrick, Managing Director, Cornerstone Capital Group (moderator)

  • Rebekah Saul Butler, Co-Executive Director, Grove Foundation

  • Giulia Christianson, Senior Associate, World Resources Institute

  • Dan Chu, Executive Director, The Sierra Club Foundation

DAFs: Maximizing the Impact of Donor Advised Funds (Tuesday, March 5th | 11:00 AM)
Organized with Tides and Amalgamated Bank

The Donor-Advised Fund (DAF) market is now equivalent in size to the venture capital market. This both offers a great opportunity and raises concerns regarding transparency and impact. This session will cover ways to deepen the environmental, social and governance focus within the DAF market, and suggest provocative and practical examples and models of how this field can evolve. As the DAF market swells to represent a significant portion of the philanthropic landscape, we need to work together to identify and strategize around the associated opportunities and risks.

Speakers:

  • Anna Fink, Executive Director, Amalgamated Foundation, SVP Amalgamated Bank (moderator)

  • Amy Bennett, Director, Marketing, Impact Assets

  • Susan Hammel, Founder and CEO, Cogent Consulting

  • Joohee Rand, VP, Community Investment and Strategy, Santa Fe Community Foundation

Loan Guarantees: Catalytic and Collaborative Uses (Tuesday, March 5th | 11:00 AM)
Organized with MCE Social Capital

Loan guarantees are an underutilized tool in the investor’s toolkit. Panelists representing both big and small foundations will discuss examples of the catalytic use of loan guarantees to unlock private capital and how they have collaborated with other foundations in a guarantee “pool” to support strong performance outcomes, both domestically and globally.

Speakers:

  • Catherine Covington, Managing Director and Business Development Officer, MCE Social Capital (moderator)

  • Tracy Kartye, Director of Social Investments, Annie E. Casey Foundation

  • Teri Lovelace, President, LOCUS Impact Investing

  • Amy Mullen, Chief Development Officer, Root Capital

Case for Accountability: Considering Potential Harm for Smarter Investing & Stronger Impact (Wednesday, March 6th | 1:30 PM)
Organized with Woodcock Foundation

Current impact investment due diligence and measurement frameworks tend to focus on how deals can create social and environmental change. Unfortunately, they don’t fully consider all external stakeholders and the potential harm to local communities. We will explore this gap and discuss resources and tools for creating more accountability in our investment practices. By being more thoughtful about the full force of the impact of our investments, we as investors can make more informed decisions about intended and unintended outcomes; avoid and mitigate harm where it can be identified; and hold investees accountable for measuring and reporting on social results. Panelists will share their own personal stories about investment projects gone wrong and tools for improved diligence and monitoring.

Speakers:

  • Stacey Faella, Executive Director, Woodcock Foundation (moderator)

  • Natalie Bridgeman Fields, Founder and Executive Director, Accountability Counsel

  • Will Morgan, Head of Impact, Sonen Capital

  • Mali Ole Kaunga, Director, Indigenous Movement for Peace Advancement and Conflict Transformation (IMPACT)

  • Gabino Vicente, Community Leader, Mexico

Transitioning to a 100% PRI Strategy (Wednesday, March 6th | 1:30 PM)
Organized with Tiedemann Advisors

What actually happens when a foundation accelerates its use of Program Related Investments (PRIs)? Does it help move traditional non-profits to more sustainable business models? We will engage in a conversation around using PRIs as a tool to further a foundation’s mission – complementing the grants, guarantees, and other impact investments they make. The adoption of PRIs in the U.S. remains low on a relative basis, and this session seeks to highlight the added benefits of a wholistic total portfolio approach, drawing from the perspectives of foundation executives. The session will cover the investment and legal considerations around adopting an aligned, integrated, and accelerated PRI strategy. The session will benefit both those foundations seeking to make their first PRI as well as those seeking to bring scale their PRI strategy.

Speakers:

  • Brad Harrison, Director, Tiedemann Advisors (moderator)

  • Catherine Burnett, Chief Impact Officer, Phillips Foundation

  • Bruce Campbell, Chief Happiness Officer, Blue Dot Advocates

  • Elizabeth Phillips, Executive Director, Phillips Foundation

When Worlds Collide (Wednesday, March 6th | 1:30 PM)
Organized with Cambridge Associates

Impact investing has historically stood apart from “traditional,” financial return-driven investing, but increasingly, an exciting convergence of variables is turning this old distinction on its head. Is impact investing still a discrete discipline or does it overlap with traditional investing in more ways than we acknowledge? If so, what are the implications for investors, managers and entrepreneurs, in terms of their own identities, communication strategies, and opportunities for collaboration? This session will call on three unique stakeholders, all with experience in traditional and impact investing, to discuss the opportunities and potential risks of having these two worlds collide. Panelists will highlight specific examples in which their motivations and investment practices did or did not align with their investing partners – either their external collaborators or internal colleagues – to better understand why breakdown occurs and what is possible when viewpoints effectively converge.

Speakers:

  • Tom Mitchell, Managing Director, Cambridge Associates (moderator)

  • Ira Ehrenpreis, Managing Partner, DBL Partners

  • Lisa Richter, Managing Partner and Co-Founder, Avivar Capital

  • Raoul Slavin Julia, Managing Director, The Aspenall Group for Treehouse Investments

Movement Building Tools and Approaches for Investors (Wednesday, March 6th | 1:30 PM)
Organized with Tides

In this session, we will have a focused conversation about the full suite of strategies investors can deploy to address the harmful impacts of money in politics. Investors and funders have a range of complementary tools at their disposal, including c3 charitable resources focused on movement building and civic engagement, c4 advocacy and candidate engagement efforts, and investment strategies focused on shareholder action. We will hear directly from movement leaders on the importance of both c3 and c4 capital in building long-term power in the face of a political system awash with corporate dollars. We will hear from a philanthropy leader on how they are prioritizing advocacy and c4 funding. And, finally, we will discuss tangible actions investors can take to align their financial investments with their c3 and c4 grant-making portfolios. We will open up the conversation to engage the audience, learn from each other, and address challenges or fears that people feel when considering advocacy/c4 funding as a tool in their toolkit.

Speakers:

  • Peter Martin, Philanthropic Director, Tides (moderator)

  • Lukas Haynes, Executive Director, David Rockefeller Fund

  • Deborah Sagner, Senior Advisor, Movement Voter Project

  • Tim Smith, Director of ESG Shareowner Engagement, Walden Asset Management

Is it Time to Stop Talking About "Impact Investing?” (Thursday, March 7th | 9:00 AM)

The term “impact investing” can stand in the way of capital deployment. All too often, as investors trip over themselves to define, articulate, and measure the elusive notion of “impact,” blank checks await a recipient and a signature. Is impact capital “dumb money?” Are impact investors somehow more morally correct than other investors? What if we dispensed once and for all with this perplexing moniker and instead adopted terminology that is more effective at getting money out the door? Through this interactive session, we will first evidence the fact that very few agree on what “impact” means. We will then propose a variety of terms that might break through the linguistic barriers to a lexicon that – finally –liberates capital. Audience polling and spirited debate will be used to stimulate this discussion. If nothing else, we might all agree that we really just want to be better investors.

Speakers:

  • James Bunch, Managing Director, AIMS Imprint, Investment Management Division, Goldman Sachs (moderator)

  • Preeti Bhattacharji, Vice President, Integrated Capitals, The Heron Foundation

  • Josh Mailman, President, Joshua Mailman Foundation

  • Robynn Steffen, Director, Impact Investing, Omidyar Network

Tales from the Fire: Engaging Emerging Managers (Thursday, March 7th | 11:30 AM)
Organized with Athena Capital

Innovative investors tend to chart their own course when they expand their team of advisors and managers to execute on a new strategy. Oftentimes, investors interested in cuttingedge investments find that the field isn’t mature yet and lacks investment managers and products with seasoned track records. What have the pioneers done to build their portfolios and the field? What have they learned from their experiences? This discussion will examine best practices in working with emerging managers within the evolving investing landscape.

Speakers:

  • Kate Huntington, Managing Director, Athena Capital Advisors (moderator)

  • Tamara Larsen, Director, Asset Management, Perella Weinberg Partners

  • Shally Shanker, Founder and Managing Partner, Aiim Partners

  • Adam Wolfensohn, Co-Managing Partner, Encourage Capital

Clarity on Commitments: Not all Impact Investment Mandates are Created Equal (Thursday, March 7th | 11:30 AM)
Organized with Ceniarth

As a field, we have developed a disturbing tendency to celebrate the announcement of any new impact investing commitment with equal fanfare, whether the move represents a truly pioneering approach or an incremental shift in the way assets are managed. But what do these commitments actually mean in practice? This session will feature a range of practitioners discussing the factors – historical constraints, financial return parameters, progressive leadership – that led them to pursue disparate strategies. The discussion will not be limited to specific asset classes, but will focus on how each investor approaches their strategy. We will discuss to what extent practitioners evaluate each investment for direct mission alignment and how/if investments are aligned with programmatic priorities. And we’ll explore how boards approved different strategic approaches and whether certain obstacles stood in the way of even more progressive options.

Speakers:

  • Vince Knowles, Investment Manager, Ceniarth LLC (moderator)

  • Lisa Hall, Senior Fellow, Beeck Center, Social Impact and Innovation

  • Meredith Heimburger, Board Member & Finance Committee Member, Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation

  • Napoleon Wallace, Board Member, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation 

The Future of Banking (Thursday, March 7th | 11:30 AM)

Digital innovations like mobile banking and cryptocurrencies are disrupting the banking industry and creating stiff competition among traditional banks and emerging fintech ventures. This disruption has changed not only the way we buy, sell, borrow and invest, but it has altered the very definitions of currency and banks themselves. It has also pushed banks to better differentiate their products and align their investments with their customers’ values. In this small session, we will explore the banking industry’s latest disruptions – technological and otherwise – to better understand how banks will serve and be served by values-aligned investors in the future.

Speakers:

  • Arjan Schütte, Founder and Managing Partner, Core Innovation Capital (moderator)

  • Yana Kakar, Global Managing Partner, Dalberg Advisors