My reflections after 3 months as the Social Investment Portfolio Manager

Author: James Anthony

Date: 30/05/2024

I’ve now been in my new role as the Social Investment Portfolio Manager at Friends Provident Foundation for just over 4 months.


At the end of 2023, having been back in the UK for almost 18 months, working remotely for a Canadian foundation, I was determined to find a position in impact investing that focused on social and environmental issues in the UK. When I saw the role at Friends Provident Foundation, I was thrilled. It was a perfect job description that I could have easily written myself. Beyond the role, the Foundation’s history of punching above its weight with respect to the investment approach immediately drew me in. The commitment to 10% social investment allocation and desire to further increase this allocation was a big draw, and I found the vision of 4D economy and systems-based approach strongly resonating with my ideals.


Now, as the Social Investment Portfolio Manager, I’m focusing on how we can maximise our social and environmental impact through our investments, while maintaining adequate financial returns to support our programs. I’m deep in the development of our social investment strategy, ensuring that every decision we make aligns with our mission to support a fair and sustainable economy. I’m also developing the reports and due diligence package that will assist our Investment Committee with their decision-making.


One aspect of this role that truly excites me is the portfolio management. The work doesn’t stop once money is transferred, and I’m keen to learn more about the fantastic work of our current investments and consider ways we can contribute beyond financial support. I’ve already met with many of our investees and am inspired by their commitment to the important work they do.


The fact that the Foundation has created this role speaks volumes about its commitment to social investment. In a world where financial gain often takes precedence, it’s refreshing to see an organisation reflect its values through its investment portfolio. Charities in England and Wales alone hold over £180bn in long-term investments – it’s crucial we maximise the impact from this enormous pot of money.


As I embark on this journey, I’m acutely aware of the complex intersection I’ll be navigating – where finance meets social good. Together with the team at Friends Provident Foundation, we will work to create lasting value for society and pave the way for a more equitable economic system.


I can’t wait to share more of this journey with you all as we work towards our shared vision of a better world.


Until next time,
James Anthony