Canadian chartered banks have engaged in impact investing in a relatively limited manner compared to their international counterparts. However, as awareness among clients and staff increase, Canadian banks are beginning to explore opportunities to engage impact investing, primarily through internal market research, staff education, and early strategy development. For many banks, however, this activity remains anchored within the corporate social responsibility departments, with limited activity within wealth management and product development teams.
BOX 2.2: Canadian Banks Engaged in Impact Investing
In 2012, RBC launched the Generator Fund, a $10m impact investment venture fund that was managed in-house to invest for-profit businesses tackling social or environmental challenges. RBC’s broader commitment extends to supporting social entrepreneurs and market building.
In 2012, TD commissioned a white paper that explored the impact investment landscape in North America. The report looks at the different impact investing products across asset classes and sectors.
Some financial institutions that have not engaged in impact investing as investors have provided philanthropic grants to build the impact investing market through the sponsorship and development of knowledge products and events, often with established partner organizations. Providing financial resources for market research and education has allowed these organizations to develop a higher level of awareness and comfort with the sector and to begin to develop a brand presence that they can leverage for other parts of their respective organizations.
BOX: Global Financial Institutions and Impact Investing
JP Morgan’s Commitment to Impact Investment
JP Morgan has stated that it views impact investment as a business opportunity, and it has engaged in three ways:
• Investing its own capital in impact investment funds, which seek to improve the livelihoods of low-income and excluded populations;
• Building market-leading research as a public good, and;
• Using investment experience and research expertise to respond to demand from clients for impact investment solutions.
Morgan Stanley and the Investing for Impact Platform
In 2012, Morgan Stanley launched its Investing for Impact Platform, which offers consumers a range of strategies that helps them invest in a manner that is consistent with their values and beliefs.
BNY Mellon (2015) Social Finance at Scale
TD Bank (2013) White Paper on the Landscape for Social Impact Investing
EVPA (2014) Social Impact Strategies for Banks