At 40, as an executive at a leading alternative asset management firm, a back surgery forced me to slow down and become acutely aware of my own limitations physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Five weeks into that journey I sat at my couch and watched a DVD presentation about investing in affordable housing. Over the next 60 seconds, two residents talked about what it was like to live in their community prior to and after this group infused capital and a management team that actually cared about the residents and community. “They have given me my dignity back” said one resident. Another said “I am so excited to have people over to my house now.” The lightbulbs went off and this became the spark that transitioned me into the second half of my career in Impact Investing.
Over the 25+ years of my professional career I have experienced several monumental transitions in the financial services industry firsthand, all of which started with controversial questions. Will people invest in a basket of unmanaged stocks? (UITs transition to ETFs). Do you really need anything in a portfolio other than liquid stocks and bonds? (Transition to include Alternatives in portfolio construction). And the question of today – can you invest with both your head and your heart? (Impact, ESG and Sustainable investing). These questions were very controversial in their time and yet the first two have been answered in big and meaningful ways. Can you invest with both your head and heart? – is being asked and answered at a rampant pace that many are not aware of.
Five years into our journey as a company has made us ever more excited to help those willing to wrestling with hard questions especially around capital, impact, values and stewardship.
–Jeff Shafer, CEO & Co-founder