British fund of funds Snowball Impact Investments has long-term plans to provide a platform for retail investors to invest their savings in impact, according to CEO Daniela Barone Soares.
Snowball was founded in 2017 by James Perry, who co-founded up-market frozen food business Cook, and former C Hoare & Co CEO Alexander Hoare. The firm runs a multi-asset-class, open-end, generalist impact fund of funds and manages £32.75 million (€38 million; $42 million) in assets. It has made commitments to funds managed by Circularity Capital, ResponsAbility Investments and Ananda Impact Ventures, according to the New Private Markets database.
The fund’s current LP base is primarily family offices, high-net-worth individuals and endowments, as well as faith-based organisations and a local authority community fund. In the long term, Soares hopes to make the platform available to mainstream retail investors. She said: “Our goal is to democratise this offering. We think that everyone should have the opportunity to invest their ISAs and their SIPPs with their values, in a high-quality impact product with attractive returns. That should be something available for everyone – and that’s our overall mission.”
Retail investors are increasingly seen as an untapped resource by private markets firms, including those in the impact space. The LTAF structure was introduced by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority in 2021 as a way of increasing DC pension funds’ and individual investors’ access to private markets. Schroders launched the UK’s first LTAF, Climate+ – a multi-asset-class climate impact fund – earlier this year, while BlackRock is also planning a sustainability-themed LTAF.
Turning Snowball’s hope into a reality may prove difficult, but Soares hopes the benefits would be significant. She said: “Retail rightly requires a higher threshold of regulation, which we will do at the right time. As impact investing demonstrates its potential, and more people are aware of it, there is a growing desire to be part of the solution. I believe the demand from retail will be bigger than the demand from institutions, for a product that delivers on positive impact and returns.”
At present, Snowball does not cater to LPs looking for more specific exposure than the open-end fund offers, but discussions are underway that may change this. Said Soares: “We’re excited this year to be introducing an offer for investors who want the impact expertise, and diversification we offer through our existing multi-asset impact approach, but who want a tailored asset allocation. We are talking with a number of institutional investors, and groups of investors, about creating a separate structure and management for their impact portfolio.”