Private wealth and impact

Written by: Ogier Posted: 06/05/2022

BL77 Ogier adv LeonieKellyBL77 Ogier adv CatherineMooreLeonie Kelly (pictured far right), Director and Head of Ogier Global Sustainable Investment Consulting, and Catherine Moore, Partner in Ogier’s Private Wealth team in Guernsey, on gaining momentum around sustainability

Our people and our planet face serious challenges from the climate crisis, natural disasters and rising inequality. No corner of Earth is immune. But we are far from powerless in the face of these global threats – this is a race we can win.

Fortunately, there is a growing global momentum towards sustainability. We’ve seen this positive change supported at COP26 and by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which help countries, companies, investors and philanthropists to align their activities towards sustainability and protecting the environment.

The growing appetite for sustainable investments is also reflected in the data. According to the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance 2020 review, global assets under management in sustainable investments reached $35.3tn in 2020, a growth of 15% in two years. 

Leonie Kelly, Director and Head of Ogier Global’s Sustainable Investment Consulting, believes this can, in part, be attributed to ‘the great wealth transfer’.

“Younger generations are expressing different risk, return and impact expectations towards management of assets,” she says.

“Millennials are moving beyond using philanthropy alone and deploying capital across the spectrum of strategies, including impact investing. They increasingly recognise that one can do good using blended instruments and vehicles.”  

Pandemic plus

Another driving force has been the pandemic, says Ogier Partner Catherine Moore.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has led many to consider their own mortality and their legacies, with many clients and their families contemplating their family’s genuine needs when weighed against the needs of society and the world we live in.

"Some may ask: ‘Why have wealth in a world we do not want to spend it in?’.”

Engaged philanthropists, foundations and impact investors are vital players in supporting the transition to a sustainable economy and are stepping up to the plate to create solutions.

The potential impact of private capital has also, arguably, been magnified by the pandemic, which has placed added significant strain on public sector funding and resources.

Making a difference

How high-net-worth families can most effectively make a difference is a common question facing private wealth advisers and wealth managers.

And as clients increasingly look to align their investments with their values, and improve the application of private wealth in driving change, they are seeking the advice of ESG and sustainable investment professionals.

“Clients and, increasingly, family offices are now seeing the need for professional and sophisticated advice surrounding the structuring of philanthropic and impact-focused ventures as they desire to correlate new wealth generation with positive impact,” says Moore. 

“It’s a trend reflected in the growth of impact investing and the key performance indicators for its assessment.

However, structures with a focus on impact and ESG investing are often of a bespoke design with significant underlying value and it is fundamental that specialist advice is sought, including legal advice.”

In a low-interest, low-yield world, says Kelly, this has accelerated a widening of the family office investment universe beyond traditional asset classes into such areas as private equity, venture capital, ESG investments and even crypto currency. 

As investments grow more intricate and high-net-worth families increasingly globalised, expertise is in greater demand.

Trustees and foundations, which have played a critical role in pioneering a holistic impact approach, can also deliver environmental and social outcomes via several means, including traditional grant-making, programme-related investments and mission-related investments.

The support needed has expanded rapidly over the years. It is now commonplace for advisers to assist in creating new private wealth structures primarily focused on ESG, impact or sustainable investment objectives (trusts, foundations, companies or partnerships). 

They are also providing advice on the evolving provisions, governance mechanisms, impact strategies, family constitutions and family office policies designed to further these objectives.

“Whether through foundations, trusts or other structures, family offices or impact investing, it’s become vital for clients to seek the right support and legal advice to bring new dimensions to their philanthropic activities,” says Kelly. 

Ogier and its corporate administration business, Ogier Global, support clients by pairing legal and regulatory services with technical and practical advice on the implementation and delivery of sustainable investment and ESG mandates.

With an experienced team of legal and technical experts, Ogier can help trustees, foundations, family offices and philanthropists seeking to incorporate ESG considerations into existing private wealth structures or establish private wealth structures with ESG, sustainable or impact investment objectives. 

FIND OUT MORE

Leonie Kelly, Director, Head of Ogier Global Sustainable Investment Consulting, is a respected voice in the industry with more than a decade of experience in sustainable finance.

Catherine Moore is a Partner in Ogier’s Private Wealth team in Guernsey, advising on a range of private wealth structures, including trusts and foundations. She works closely with fiduciary service providers and high-net-worth individuals.

• This advertising feature was first published in the ESG Edition of Businesslife magazine in April 2022


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