Do Well And Do Good: Impact Investing For Endowments
As the calls for responsible investing grow, universities will be asked about their endowments’ investment policies regarding impact investing, wherein endowments seek opportunities that provide investment returns and social impact. A common concern for the investment committees, however, is how to incorporate impact investments without compromising the goal of maximizing asset values and the benefit to its university. This paper offers a way forward. Using standard portfolio optimization models and a broader way to consider return, this paper suggests that an endowment can still meet the goal of maximizing expected value while investing with a purpose. It also offers examples of how to incorporate impact investing opportunities throughout the traditional asset classes in an endowment’s portfolio. The paper also addresses some reasons why endowments have been hesitant to incorporate impact investments. While other papers have addressed aspects of impact investing, this paper seeks to offer an accessible and holistic approach to the topic.
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