On February 17th, MacCormick was an active participant in the latest conference where more than 200 leading financiers, institutional investors, policy makers, academics, impact investors and philanthropies, to analyze the main opportunities and obstacles to mainstreaming of impact investment. The biggest themed take away was that “pay for performance” is in.

The relationship between the private capital markets and the well-being of society and the planet has become a hot topic. In 2015, in New York and Paris, the world’s governments signed up to ambitious goals to curb climate change and generate the sort of economic growth that benefits everyone, not just a wealthy minority – goals that it is estimated will require over $2.5 trillion a year of additional private investment. At the same time, partly in response to criticisms that irresponsible short-termism in the capital markets caused the 2008 financial crash and the Great Recession that followed, some leading capital-market institutions have pledged to take a more long-term, sustainable and socially responsible approach to investing.

The growing demand for a more socially-responsible, purpose-driven finance has been best illustrated by the emergence of a new approach to putting capital to work called “impact investing.” Having started out as a niche activity, largely practiced by wealthy and philanthropically-inclined individuals, impact investment is now championed by a growing number of leading institutions in the capital markets.  As a recent G8 taskforce on impact investing predicted, perhaps the 20th Century approach to investing, based on risk and return, will be replaced by a 21st Century model built on risk, return and impact.

Yet such a shift is by no means inevitable. Critics question whether the recent commitment of mainstream finance to impact investing is more than skin deep. Meanwhile, the election of Donald Trump as President, and his inclusion in his government of several people closely associated with an earlier, more free-wheeling approach to investing, raises the question of whether there will be anything socially- or environmentally-responsible about the future direction of capitalism, at least the American version of it.

We will convene, under the chairmanship of Economist editors, leading financiers, institutional investors, policymakers, academics, impact investors and philanthropies to analyze the main opportunities and obstacles to the mainstreaming of impact investment and to identify what needs to be done to make it happen. It will be an important conversation: how trillions of dollars will be invested is at stake.

We encourage you to check out the following exclusive Q&As with some of the speakers from the event:

  • Dr. Amy Jadesimi, Managing Director and CEO, LADOL
  • Amit Bouri, CEO and Co-Founder, The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN)
  • Roland Lescure, Chief Investment Officer, CDPQ
  • Josh Levin, Chief Strategy Officer, OpenInvest
  • Ela Madej, Managing Partner, Fifty Years
  • Jessica Matthews, Managing Director, Cambridge Associates
  • Colin Melvin, Global Head of Stewardship, Hermes Investment Management
  • Nancy Pfund, Managing Partner, DBL Partners
  • Jackie VanderBrug, Managing Director and Investment Strategist, U.S. Trust