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Impact Investing Done Right

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barrons articleThe following is an excerpt from ROBERT MILBURN | November 28, 2015 | Barrons.com |

Pictured on Left: Doug and Kathleen Spencer of Denver are investing their entire portfolio in a way that will help the poor. Photo: Don Cudney for Barron’s

Impact investing—the art of creating portfolios that earn market-rate returns while also seeking to advance social or environmental aims—is a mercurial child of the 21st century. Hard to pin down with precise definitions and interpreted in a variety of ways, impact investing is nonetheless a fast-growing force below the surface of our financial markets, effectively blurring the lines between philanthropy and investing.

Liesel Pritzker Simmons is a Hyatt Hotel heiress, a leader of the impact-investing movement, and a co-founder of the impact-investing family office Blue Haven Initiative, which she runs with her husband, Ian. Two years after winning a 2005 lawsuit against her family and extracting $500 million in inheritance, Pritzker Simmons and her husband were traveling in Rwanda and thinking about how their investments could have a more direct impact on the lives of impoverished Africans. After returning home, she ran their idea by her financial advisor, who sneered, saying, “How much money do you want to lose?”

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