And then there were three…

We are taking steps towards turning our vision of endowment management into reality.

Over the last month, we have made some significant progress on the management of our endowment. We are considering how best we invest the £60m endowment from the Cabinet Office using a “total impact” approach. Following the thinking of the endowment working group over the past few months, we began engaging with a number of asset managers to help turn our vision into reality, at the beginning of November.

A huge thank you to all the asset management firms who took the time to meet with me and consider how best we might invest to achieve our desired financial goals, as well as achieve the social impact we identified, referred to my in previous blog, “Hitting the Bull’s Eye”. All the meetings were useful in helping to refine our thinking and better understand what we are looking for in a partner.

Following these initial meetings, three asset managers have been asked for a more formal proposal of how they might approach the endowment investment, balancing risk, financial return and importantly, social return. The firms are being asked to present their proposals in early January 2016, after which we will have a clearer view of who we will partner with.

Aside from the usual requirements of a proposal from a foundation like us, we will also be asking how the manager will measure the social impact of the investments selected, an understanding of their commitment to developing the social investment market and their commitment to the values of transparency and learning that Access holds dear.

In approaching the market of investment managers, we were unsure what response we would receive – would it be possible to invest to achieve both financial and social returns? The response has been encouraging and a good step in the right direction in proving the hypothesis that this approach is viable.

I will be sure to update you early next year once the proposals have been received and reviewed. Meanwhile allow me to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!