Meet the Impact 20: ‘Firms should not be competing on the cleverness of their methodology’

Bridges Fund Management celebrates its 20th anniversary next year and its co-founder Philip Newborough explains why impact investing is about more than a GP's reporting methodology.

Impact investors should focus more on the quality of their investment outcomes and the quantity of returns rather than the “cleverness” of their reporting methodology, according to Philip Newborough, chief executive of Bridges Fund Management.

Newborough, a co-founder of the UK-based firm that was launched in 2002, told New Private Markets in an interview that among the most pressing priorities for the impact investing space is for the industry to build “a better global consensus around measurement” so that the focus of capital being deployed remains on the benefit it brings to society.

“It feels a little technocratic and dull, but in terms of investors looking at financial and impact returns, being able to harmonise the measurement is very, very important,” Newborough said, “which is why we at Bridges are very proud to have founded and led the Impact Management Project.”

Bridges is one of the oldest impact fund managers in private markets. Examples from the firm’s portfolio include an investment last year in James River Home Healthcare, which provides home health and hospice care services in the US, or the renovation of Lawrence House, a dilapidated office building in Norwich in the UK.

Bridges finished joint 16th in our inaugural Impact 20 ranking after raising $600 million over the previous five-year period. The ranking measured final or official interim fundraising closes held between January 2016 and March 2021. The ranking uses the GIIN’s definition of impact, which considers investments that are made “with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return”.

The video posted above highlights more of our conversation with Newborough, who elaborates on what he regards as the two biggest challenges facing the impact investing space.

This article is part of our Meet the Impact 20 series profiling the managers featured in the ranking. View our previous post here to learn how Bobby Turner of Turner Impact Capital views the business opportunity from making socially beneficial investments