ESG / Impact Investing
ESG & impact investing is all about “doing well while doing good”. Unlike gifting and philanthropy, there is an expectation that ESG & impact investing will provide a financial reward, just like traditional investing. In fact, there are multiple studies that show that ESG investing has performed just as well, if not better than traditional investing. ESG investing is not a fad, but a growing trend.
ESG stands for Environmental, Social and Governance. Companies that support ESG considerations can improve their bottom line.
- Stewardship of the environment is not just good for our planet, it can also help to control costs, avoid damaging incidents, and position for tomorrow's economy.
- Equal opportunity and treatment for employees is not only the right thing to do, but it can also help attract and retain talent.
- Good governance policies allow for longer-term and better corporate decisions.
ESG funds invest in companies that include ESG factors in their daily business. They are considered “public” because like traditional funds, anyone can buy them. Passive ESG funds usually track a certain index and then screen for ESG considerations. Actively-managed ESG funds incorporate ESG screening into their normal analysis and selection.
The following links will take you to our ESG investment ideas. In addition, Alternative Energy (in our thematic investing section), is also considered part of the ESG fund landscape.
Impact investing is similar to ESG investing in that investors are trying to make a difference while also earning a return. There are a few ways it is different though.
- Impact investing is private, meaning that you aren’t investing in a publicly traded fund or company.
- Where ESG primarily adds screens to filter out undesired companies and industries, impact investing offers more of a direct connection to what’s important to the investor (organic farming, supporting a business venture that inspires you, buying and renovating old property, etc.).
Impact investing can be accomplished through a variety of investments.
- Invest in the ideas and leaders of start-ups, later-stage private companies, real estate, and farms that you believe in
- Non-Accredited Investors
- Minimums are typically around $250 for direct investments and $1,000+ for funds
Opportunity Zone Funds
- Opportunity Zones were created as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to encourage economic development and job creation in economically distressed communities through private capital investments
- Investors benefit from favorable capital gain tax treatment
- Capital gains from an asset sale (stocks, property, etc.) can be deferred until 12/31/26 if an investment is made within 180 days of the sale.
- The cost basis of the original capital gains invested in the fund increases by 10% if invested for at least 5 years, and 15% if invested for at least 7 years.
- No taxes on capital gains produced by the fund if held for at least 10 years.
- Must be an Accredited Investor*
- Minimums are usually around $25,000 - $50,000, although there are some as low as $3,000
- Similar investment opportunities as crowd funding
- Must be an Accredited Investor* and sometimes even a Qualified investor**
- Minimums are often $50,000+
*To qualify as an Accredited Investor, a person needs to have a personal income of at least $200,000 (or joint income of at least $300,000) for the last 2 years and a reasonable expectation that it will continue, or a net worth of at least $1,000,000 excluding their primary residence.
** Qualified Investors need a net worth of $2,100,000 or more excluding their primary residence.
It is not a choice of ESG or impact investing. The two can go hand-in-hand. ESG can be integrated into a larger traditional portfolio, while smaller private investments can incorporate impact investments. Client goals and comfort level often drive how much ESG and/or impact investing is included in their portfolio.