What A Difference A Year Makes: Tideline Grew Rapidly Reflecting Surging Interest in Impact Investing

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 14, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- One year into the firm’s launch, Tideline now has a team of 12, offices in New York and San Francisco, and over a dozen institutional clients, reflecting the growing interest in impact investing.

The firm’s clients include institutional foundations, private equity firms, insurance companies, investment advisors, and large nonprofits. All have invested in expanding their impact investment strategies with Tideline’s support. That commitment of resources is indicative of a broader trend.

“In order to capitalize on the growth of impact investing, our clients are asking for advice on the development of impact businesses or investment strategies, and the creation of financial products and services that open up, or scale, impact markets,” said Ben Thornley, Tideline Managing Partner and Co-Founder.

Recent developments in policy and disclosure
“While still nascent, the data, tools, and advisory services needed for impact investing to function as an institutional-quality market are beginning to fall into place. The entry of mainstream intermediaries, the work of groups like SASB and UNPRI, and efforts over many years to create an enabling policy environment will be seen as a tipping point,” said Christina Leijonhufvud, Tideline Managing Partner and Co-Founder.

One year ago, new ERISA guidelines were issued for plan fiduciaries that allow for the consideration of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors in investment selection, with the potential to open up new sources of capital for impact-oriented strategies. In addition, the call to develop more robust climate-related financial disclosures received additional support from the Financial Stability Board, which launched a Task Force in January to explore voluntary disclosures related to the physical, liability, and transition risks associated with climate change. 

New impact investment products
Many new products have been rolled out over the last 12 months, including from some of the largest investment managers - BlackRock, Bain Capital, and UBS.  The potential of creative partnerships has been demonstrated through efforts such as Benefit Chicago, which brings the resources and expertise of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the community expertise and individual donors of the Chicago Community Trust, together with the distribution muscle of Calvert Foundation to create positive change in the Chicago region.

“Combining a donor advised fund with impact investing democratizes access, allowing non-institutional investors to align their investments with their values. Starting with investor assets already committed to philanthropy through a donor advised fund is a natural place to begin,” said Kim Wright-Violich, Tideline Managing Partner and Co-Founder.

High profile support emerges
Other indicators of a rising tide of interest over the last year include the November announcement by Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, of the institution’s plan to develop an impact investing policy for its $12 billion endowment.  Furthermore, statements by BlackRock–  first,  CEO Larry Fink’s letter to CEOs to reject short-termism in favor of developing transparent, value-creating strategies aligned to addressing environmental, social, and governance issues, and second, a call to action for asset holders to factor climate change into their investments– underscore the value of social and environmental impact.

“It’s clear there’s not nearly enough philanthropy or public sector capacity to solve the world’s toughest challenges. The private sector and capital markets have the potential to move quickly, and sustainably, to help solve the most intransigent problems,” said Kim Wright-Violich, Tideline Managing Partner and Co-Founder.

Momentum builds
Clients are asking and leaders in the investment industry are responding. Tideline Managing Partner Ben Thornley will lead a conference panel this Thursday, September 15, at SOCAP16: “Impactful Matchmaking: How Investment Advisors First Talk Impact with Clients.” Expert panelists include Hilary Irby from Morgan Stanley, Jessica Matthews from Cambridge Associates, Rehana Nathoo from the Case Foundation, Fran Seegull from ImpactAssets, and Matthew Weatherley-White from the CAPROCK Group, an independent Registered Investment Advisor.

About Tideline

Tideline is a consulting firm that provides tailored advice to clients developing impact investment strategies, products, and solutions. The firm has offices in New York and San Francisco.


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