“Impact investing has often been associated with private markets investments,” explains a research report from asset management business Vontobel. “But, as a broader set of investors expresses a desire to fund companies that make a difference, access to such opportunities is starting to widen.”
Vontobel, which only runs impact strategies in the public equities space, commissioned a survey of 81 institutional investors and 112 professional investors globally, and asked how they either have – or would like to – access impact investments. “Investors want a simple point of entry into the world of impact investing,” the report authors write. “Listed equities can offer straightforward access through a familiar vehicle where there are fewer issues of data availability and transparency of process, compared to private markets.”
While private markets can boast advantages in terms of exercising shareholder control and accessing emerging unlisted companies (important qualities in the context of impact investing), it is worth noting that for many investors, private fund structures remain difficult to access.