Bridges looks to make HNWI impact with family office hire

Bonny Landers previously served as head of sustainable, responsible and impact investment at London-based multi-family office Sandaire.

Bridges Fund Management has appointed a family office executive to its advisory team in response to growing high-net-worth appetites for impact investing.

Bonny Landers previously served as head of sustainable, responsible and impact investment at London-based multi-family office Sandaire Investment Office, according to a statement. She was formerly chief executive of two Hong Kong family offices.

Landers told Private Equity International will help families and HNWIs incorporate impact strategies into their investment portfolios across all asset classes. This could include reviews of an existing portfolio to identify investments that do not match with the client’s sustainability aims.

One foundation she worked with in her previous position at a multi-family office had not properly screened its portfolio for investments contrary to its impact mission, Landers said.

“They hadn’t actually realised they should look at the investments they already had in their portfolio to make sure nothing was actually creating the problems they were trying to solve.”

Bridges’ advisory team has worked with firms including Barclays Wealth and Skopos Impact Fund, a private vehicle backed by clothing store C&A owner the Brenninkmeijer family. The partnership with Skopos resulted in the Impact Management Project report, calling for a global standard for impact measurement and management.

“There is no perfection; if there were I would be out of business,” Landers said. “Since there’s no perfection, all you have to do is say, ‘How do I define my mission?’ And then look through to see what it is that your investments are doing positively and negatively.”

More than one quarter of family offices are engaged in impact investing, with 40 percent expected to increase their allocations to the sector, according to the UBS/Campden Wealth Global Family Office Report 2017. This is driven in part by the maturation of ultra-high-net-worth millennials who are beginning to take a more active role in the management of their family assets.

“Families starting with the public-listed markets, they are more comfortable. They see that this is not indeed a version of philanthropy and what they’re doing is improving the positive impact of their portfolio,” Landers said.

The list of well-known private equity firms launching impact funds is growing, with Hamilton Lane the latest to offer a dedicated impact investing vehicle, joining KKR, Partners Group and Bain Capital.

Bridges held a second close on £50 million ($65.7 million; €57.5 million) for its eponymous evergreen impact vehicle in July. Its founder, Sir Ronald Cohen, addressed concerns last month that Abraaj Group’s collapse could tarnish the strategy’s reputation.

“It’s obviously not good for the industry, but it ain’t going to stop this movement,” Cohen told delegates at PEI’s Global Impact Investing Network Investor Forum in Paris. “When you look at that trajectory, Abraaj is an unfortunate blip.”