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Nonprofit/Philanthropy News - Has Wall Street Finally Embraced Impact Investing? – Survey Shows Millennials, Women, College-Educated Driving Demand
SRI Conference Survey & First Affirmative Financial Network, LLC

November, 2015

“Impact investing” is a hot topic in the financial world today. Already, 39 percent of surveyed financial professionals say they are offering such choices to clients and another 15 percent plan to do so in the new future, according to “The SRI Conference Survey on the Views of Financial Professionals About Impact Investing” released today by First Affirmative Financial Network, producer of The SRI Conference taking place next week, November 3–5, 2015 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado (http://www.SRIconference.com). The SRI Conference will focus on issues for financial professionals and investors grappling with impact investing.

Available online at http://www.sriconference.com/impactinvestingsurvey, the First Affirmative survey is based on 508 responses to an online survey of financial professionals not usually identified as SRI practitioners. The survey was conducted between September 25 and October 19, 2015. Key survey findings include the following:

* Nearly two thirds of survey financial advisors claim to be “very aware” (35 percent) or “somewhat aware” (29 percent) of impact investing.
* However, one out of five could not define “impact investing” and there was little consensus among the rest on specific definitions, with more than a third (38 percent) opting for “all of the above” on what impact investing means. One common definition of “impact investing” is that it seeks to achieve environmental or social change while generating a return for an investor.
* Over half (51 percent) of surveyed financial advisors say “impact investing likely will become a bigger focus for more financial advisors in the next five years.” An even greater percentage—73 percent—see impact investing becoming a “much bigger” or “somewhat bigger” part of their practice in the same time period.
* Why offer impact investing? Client demand at 58 percent.
* Where will demand for impact investing come from? The survey respondents picked Millennials, women, and college-educated investors as the top three groups driving demand.

Commenting on the survey findings, First Affirmative Financial Network President, Steve Schueth, said:  “The survey’s findings show that the financial world is adjusting quickly to accommodate retail investor demand for impact investing. It is encouraging to see so many so-called ‘mainstream’ financial advisors embrace the notion that their clients can do well and do good at the same time. Only a few years ago investing for impact was the exclusive province of investment professionals who specialized in SRI—Sustainable, Responsible, Impact investing. The reason for this encouraging trend is pretty clear: A new generation of Millennials, women, and college-educated investors are demanding positively impactful investment strategies.”

Other key findings from “The SRI Conference Survey on the Views of Financial Professionals About Impact Investing” include the following:

* What is the Number 1 factor that surveyed financial advisors say keeps them from getting involved in impact investing?  “Lack of information/familiarity” at 77 percent.
* Over half (53 percent) of surveyed financial advisors say they offer or have offered SRI/ESG investment strategies to clients.
* Two out of three surveyed financial advisors agree that, “by definition, what is referred to as ‘SRI’ or ‘ESG’ investing is impact investing since it seeks both change and a return.”
* 70 percent of the survey respondents have served as a financial advisor for more than 10 years, including 34 percent with 25 or more years of experience.
* 61 percent have $50 million or more in assets under management, with 41 percent responsible for over $100 million in AUM.
* 44 percent of the respondents are aged 46-50, with 24 percent aged 45 or less.
* 79 percent of the respondents are male.

ABOUT THE SRI CONFERENCE
Now in its 26th year, The SRI Conference (http://www.sriconference.com/) will take place November 3–5, 2015 at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Leaders in the philanthropy and foundation worlds are invited to participate in the largest, longest-running annual meeting of responsible investors and investment professionals. Registration is available at https://www.eventsforce.net/fafn/frontend/reg/thome.csp?pageID=971&eventID=5&eventID=5 or by contacting Krystala Kalil at 888-774-2663 or Krystala@SRIconference.com.

Conference participation is open to investment professionals, institutional investors, and related organizations and individuals who are working to direct the flow of investment capital in more positive, healthy, transformative ways—toward the creation of a truly sustainable future. The conference experience features an outstanding series of educational sessions and a focused opportunity to network with hundreds of like-minded individuals, organizations, and industry leaders.

ABOUT FIRST AFFIRMATIVE FINANCIAL NETWORK
First Affirmative Financial Network, LLC (http://www.firstaffirmative.com) is an independent Registered Investment Advisor (SEC File #801-56587) offering investment consulting and asset management services through a nationwide network of investment professionals who specialize in serving socially conscious investors. First Affirmative produces The SRI Conference (http://www.SRIconference.com).



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