Australia to Help Drive Global Market for Social Investment

Sir Ronald Cohen, a global leader in venture capital, is in Australia this week to promote the work of the international Social Impact Investment Taskforce established by the G8.

The Taskforce, which Sir Ronald chairs, was launched in June 2013 to galvanise the development of the social impact investment market.  Australia is the only country outside of the G8 invited to become a member of the Taskforce.

“This Taskforce is becoming the international vanguard of the revolution in philanthropy. More than 200 able figures are engaged across the G8, Australia and the EU, focused on establishing impact investment as a powerful force in each country,” Sir Ronald said.

In Australia, Sir Ronald will meet with leaders from business, finance, superannuation, philanthropy and government to champion his vision for the growing field of investment, which generates social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.

Sir Ronald is a global leader in impact investing, building on success as a pioneer in venture capital and private equity. He founded what became APAX Capital and was a founding director of the British Venture Capital Association and European Venture Capital Association.

From 2000-2010 he chaired the UK Social Investment Taskforce, and the Commission on Unclaimed Assets, which resulted in formation of Big Society Capital, of which he was also first Chair and remains a Director.

Sir Ronald co-founded the Portland Trust in 2003, a British Not for Profit ‘action tank’ whose mission is to promote peace and stability between Israelis and Palestinians through economic development. He also co-founded Social Finance Ltd in the UK, which developed the first Social Impact Bond. He has since co-founded Social Finance US and Social Finance Israel.

“Australia has been invited to join the Taskforce on the strength of our innovation in this space,” Rosemary Addis, Australia’s representative on the Taskforce, said.

Addis is the Co-Founder of Impact Investing Australia and Managing Director of Impact Strategist.

“Increasingly we are seeing pressures on government budgets, with a growing gap between the demand for services and what government and philanthropy can provide. We need to do some things differently to enable better outcomes for people and communities doing it tough,” she said.

“Australia can be a great contributor as a leading asset market and financial services community. We’ve shown excellence in tackling many social issues and have a market that is small enough to test and innovate new investment products and approaches.

“In Australia alone, the market for impact investment is estimated to be $A32 billion over the next decade, and over $US600 billion globally by 2020.

“From NSW social impact bonds reaching the market, to superannuation funds actively seeking social impact investment opportunities, this past year has seen a significant increase in activity to deliver more positive outcomes for societies, alongside economic benefits,” Addis said.

The Taskforce says it will publish a report on its work in September to inform governments and the worlds of finance and industry about what needs to be done to develop this market.  A national Advisory Board has been set up to inform Australia’s participation in the Taskforce and to lead an Australian strategy to accelerate the growth of the local impact investing market.

Impact Investing Australia, a new Not for Profit organisation established by Addis and Sandy Blackburn-Wright to develop the impact investing market in Australia, is auspicing Australia’s participation in the international Taskforce and the Australian Advisory Board.

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