Brand Story - Investment advisory firm Arnerich Massena pushes the envelope in the world of impact investing.
For investors David Kahl and Mark Holloway, investing in positive impact goes beyond wealth allocation; it extends to how they devote their time, energy and resources. When they decided to take their impact investing to the next level, they searched for an investment advisor with that same sense of responsibility and ultimately found it in Arnerich Massena.
“There are not many financial advisors that are B Corps™. We considered a lot of different advisors, but we appreciate what Tony and Christine Arnerich have done in the local community,” explains Kahl, himself the founder of a B Corp™, which are companies dedicated to positive social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability. “It was really Arnerich Massena’s ethos, values and approach that made the difference for us.”
But would Arnerich Massena be able to assemble a strong investment portfolio given the couple’s ethical non-negotiables? Broadly speaking, Kahl and Holloway wanted to (1) ensure that the good their money was doing equaled the good they were doing with their time and energy, (2) support companies committed to using business as a force for good, and (3) invest in entrepreneurs and companies that help marginalized, underrepresented and traditionally under-resourced people realize their full potential.
“After Mark and I told them what’s important to us, I didn’t think there would be anything left to invest in. But they came up with a great portfolio,” Kahl recalls. “You can tell Arnerich Massena the things that are important to you — staying away from things like private prisons and predatory lending practices, and emphasizing things like gender diversity — and they can create a portfolio that helps you sleep a bit more soundly.”
Another important piece of the puzzle that they found at Arnerich Massena was a holistic approach. Financial advisors generally feel comfortable discussing how to maximize financial returns, but fewer enjoy analyzing social returns or as Holloway puts it: having the what-are-you-trying-to-do-in-the-world conversation.
“It’s hard enough for advisors to talk the talk of ‘making a personal impact,’ but Arnerich Massena is even walking the walk. They’re holding lunchtime impact investing sessions with clients and trying to find tools that go above and beyond,” Holloway says. “We had been using impact screens and filters to make sure our money wasn’t involved in any horrible things happening around the world, but what Arnerich Massena was doing allowed us to take a bolder and more impactful step and still get great financial return. That was especially important for our philanthropic fund — using the corpus for impact, not just our grantmaking”
One such tool is a direct indexing platform, which uses complex screens, textual big data analysis of online chatter and powerful algorithms to paint a more accurate picture of corporate or industry impacts.
Armed with this knowledge, the team skillfully balances risk and returns within given categories, such as gender diversity or sustainable impact. It can scan for companies in different industries with the desired attributes and risk profile without sacrificing values.
For Arnerich Massena and its impact investing clients, it has long been clear that positive impact does not come at the expense of performance — an unfortunate misconception. To the contrary, the greater social and environmental purpose that the firm’s impact portfolios help champion can prove to be a client’s most powerful driver of potential long-term performance, while aligning client portfolios with their values.
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