Impact investing is all about making a positive social or environmental statement while shooting for an above market return. And while it sounds like a highly political way to invest, it actually cuts across the aisle, said Fran Seegull, chief investment officer of ImpactAssets.
"Progressives appreciate the fact that government aid alone is not enough to move the dial on the social and environmental issues of our time," said Seegull. "And for the conservative folks, we say that we are trying to create private sector solutions to public sector problems, thereby decreasing the role of government."
There are $6.5 trillion dollars, or one in six investment dollars in the United States, associated with impact investing, according to Seegull. She said that figure is up 76% from 2012. Most of that money is invested in the public markets with environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors taken into account.
On the private side, Seegull said there is about $100 billion invested in private companies where the impact themes might be job creation, housing or education.
Seegull said the huge wealth transfer from baby boomers to millennials and women in the range of $40 trillion over the next 30 years will also raise impact investing to a new level.
"We know that both of those cohorts are very interested in investing consistently with their values," said Seegull.
Finally, Seegull said there are now a number of asset classes individual investors can choose from in order to create an impact investing portfolio.
"There has been an explosion in green bonds, so that can be a tax advantaged fixed income type of investment," said Seegull. "You could also invest in equity mutual funds through families such as Pax, Domini, Calvert and now BlackRock ( (BLK) ) is getting into the mix and they are working on an impact investing ETF."