SFI CELEBRATES ONE YEAR OF LEARNING, CONNECTING AND INVESTING

Over the past year, SFi has successfully built a community of private investors who believe in “Capital that Matters”. Our investor network has progressed from asking “why invest sustainably”, to asking “how”, and “what”. In the process, we have also established SFi as an informed and engaged voice in Hong Kong’s financial industry.

 

From an idea to a growing community

What began as an idea from Annie Chen, principal of RS Group, to share her journey as a sustainable investor, has developed into a group of private investors who are active in the space, participate in SFi events, share their experiences and knowledge with others, and make collective sustainable investment allocations.

While the Hong Kong sustainable investment industry is still in its early stages, there is growing recognition amongst Hong Kong family offices and wealth owners that climate change, ageing society and social inequalities pose complex new risks which could destroy value for investors, but at the same time present opportunities in both the medium to long term.

 

The Three Pillars: Learn, Connect and Invest

All of SFi’s activities are built around the three programme pillars of Learn, Connect and Invest. These pillars support and complement each other, and in the past year investors have contributed to each of these pillars to grow the community and its impact.

 

LEARN – Original content and thought leadership

SFi has developed investor knowledge and awareness of sustainable finance through the publication of newsletters with original and curated content.

This year our content covered topics ranging from investors’ profiles to aligning capital with tackling climate change and addressing modern slavery, to global trends in sustainable finance and implications for Hong Kong. 

Our investor profiles, capture the journey and life stories of local impact investors had been a hit with our readers. We learned from investors who are approaching sustainable investing as a new career, those who remain sceptical about sustainable finance methods, and those who are still trying to persuade their family that this new method of investing will create the legacy that they desire.

“SFi is a valuable platform that connects me with a community of like-minded impact investors.” (Michael Au, MD, District Capital).

 

CONNECT – Connecting with your peers and industry experts

Peer-to-peer learning has been an important SFi activity. We held Smart Conversation sessions and Brownbag luncheons, joining international debates on topics such as “Why Investors should become Active Owners” and “Impact Investing: is there a trade-off?”.

We also held smaller-group investor-only discussions for candid sharing of lessons learned from individual’s sustainable investment experiences.

“Engaging in specific case studies makes the space more tangible and concrete.” (Anonymous)

The SFi team have become visible advocates of sustainable investing, speaking at over 15 industry events and sharing our expertise in university classes and the media. We have invited investors from the community to participate at these events to help us spread the word. We have created strong relationships with global impact networks such as AVPNToniic and GIIN, helping put Hong Kong on the global sustainable finance map.

Our spectrum of capital focus has kept us involved in supporting social innovation and charity finance developments in Hong Kong. Many of our investors are already engaged in philanthropy and social innovation, and the “blended” approach towards doing good has become a common topic in our community.

“Smart Conversations provide an intimate sharing of hands-on issues encountered in impact investing by practitioners.” (Anonymous)

 

INVEST – Getting active

SFi’s goal is for each investor’s journey to result in active sustainable investing. SFi has helped investors get active and demonstrated the “how” of sustainable investing through our Investor Circle and we have vetted more than 20 deals in the first year alone. 

SFi made a landmark achievement in our first year by bringing the first Asian group of private investors to LeapFrog Emerging Consumer Fund III. Coordinating the due diligence process in collaboration with the investor group raised the awareness, skills and confidence of all involved and marked an important step forward for SFi.

The group of Asian sustainable investors included RS GroupAffinity Impact, Blue Pte Ltd, OIC Capital, and Peterson Group. They made a collective allocation to the USD700 million fund, with each investor investing through their own respective entities. The fund targets 70 million low-income emerging consumers with healthcare and financial tools in Africa, Asia and SE Asia. Read more about SFi’s role here

“SFi provided comfort to our own board that other family offices have also gone through the due diligence process and are investing too.” (Anonymous)

 

Looking Ahead

As SFi continues to evolve, we are happy to announce that Katy Yung (currently the Director of Investment of RS Group) will formally join SFi from June and will continue to lead SFi’s Investment initiatives. She will also work with Leonie Kelly on SFi’s strategy, growth and development. Meanwhile Tze-wei Ng, Advocacy & Engagement Lead and a key founding team member, will be returning to legal practice, but will remain an active member of the SFi community. We thank Tze-wei for her invaluable contribution to SFi’s first year. 

SFi is excited to build on this strong team foundation to create exciting new events, programmes and opportunities in the year to come!