SOCAP is celebrating our 10 year anniversary along with a number of our partners in the impact space who are marking their own notable anniversaries in 2017. Veris Wealth Partners is also celebrating their 10th anniversary this year and we are pleased to share this reflection from their CEO and Co-Founder on ten great years in impact.
A SOCAP Guest Post by Patricia Farrar-Rivas
It’s hard to believe that 10 years have passed since my partners and I launched Veris, and what an amazing ride it has been.
As we celebrate our 10th anniversary, we find ourselves more committed to our firm, our clients and the opportunity ahead.
In reflecting on the past decade, it’s instructive to see how impact investing has made such a meaningful difference in the way individuals and institutions invest. At the same time, it’s clear we’re just scratching the surface. So much more can and needs to be done to address the key issues facing people around the globe.
Changing The World
The good news: In the past 10 years, capital allocated to impact, sustainable and mission-related investing has almost quadrupled to $8.72 trillion in the U.S. About one in every five dollars of assets under professional management is now invested in these three categories.
In the process, impact investing has gone from outlier to mainstream. We now know that wealth can be aligned with values to achieve financial performance and social gain. We are no longer constrained by the old paradigm – that investing and social/environmental benefit are separate realms. Impact investing has emerged as a strategy whose performance is every bit as good as traditional approaches to investment management.
Impact investing has given us new hope in tackling the planet’s most pressing issues – inequality, climate change, the opportunities for women and girls, environmental degradation, access to healthcare, and clean drinking water, to name just a few.
This movement is remarkable because it was built from the bottom up – with all of you and millions more across the globe. Individuals and families are the impact investing trailblazers. You are the pioneers and early adopters. Wall Street wanted nothing to do with impact investing 10 years ago. Today, they can’t talk about it enough.
The Growth of Veris
I’m very pleased to say that Veris’ success has mirrored the success of impacting investing as a category.
During the worst global financial crisis since the Great Depression in 2007, my founding partners – Michael Lent, Anders Ferguson, Steve Faher, David Hills and I – decided to launch Veris. At the time, there was much pessimism, but we all knew in our hearts that impact investing would succeed because the time was right and so many people had expressed interest in aligning their wealth with their values.
Since then, Veris has grown to nearly $1 billion in assets. We now have a team of 24 professionals and a presence in New York, San Francisco, Portsmouth (NH), and Boulder (CO). Last year, three very accomplished women, Alison Pyott, Nicole Davis and Lori Choi, were named partners. We now have the next generation of leaders in place, not to mention so many other talented professionals who are completely committed to our work.
I know I can speak for everyone at Veris in saying it has been a great privilege to work with the many individuals, families, social entrepreneurs and foundations over these years. As it turned out, we have shown that impacting investing really is a better way to invest.
In the past decade, we witnessed the spectacular growth of impact investing paired and sustainable business practices. In the next decade, we’ll see even more progress. Investors will increasingly evaluate companies based on impact and sustainability criteria.
More businesses, local and global, will adopt impact criteria and sustainability as a business strategy to create innovation, superior workplaces and relationships with all their stakeholders.
We are optimistic about this new business ethos, as well as the new generation of investors and business leaders who actively believe in sustainability and impact investing. They are embracing sustainability as their management strategy of choice because they understand that Sustainability = Innovation. What’s more, successful companies realize that following Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategies is better for shareholders and the economic vitality of their communities.
We’re also hopeful because there is now an unstoppable tide of impact, business-driven innovation. This will ultimately lead to greater efficiency, resource conservation and investment performance. In the future, impact investing will be powered by businesses investing in creative people and technologies that produce more with less.
We know some don’t share our optimism. We know the enormous challenges in front of us could thwart progress. However, the wind is now at our back. Just 10 years ago, it was blowing against us.
Patricia Farrar-Rivas is CEO and co-founder of Veris Wealth Partners.