Finance Leaders Fellowship Ventures and Impact
Fellows make positive societal change through launching and leading their impact ventures.
In February 2021, Amanda White launched the Global Pension Transparency Benchmark which is a world first global benchmark for transparency of pension disclosure, bringing a focus to transparency in a bid to improve pension outcomes for members. The GPTB ranks 15 countries on public disclosures of key value generation elements for the five largest pension fund organisations within each country. The overall country benchmark scores will look at four factors: governance and organization; performance; costs; and responsible investing, which are measured by assessing hundreds of underlying Components.
There is plenty of evidence that a lack of transparency has negative consequences for relationships and organisations of all types, whether they be individuals, governments, corporations or pension funds. Ultimately transparency drives better outcomes through clarity of purpose, sound goals and accountability for progress. Amanda has received a lot of feedback already from the launch of the benchmark including 12 pension funds asking for customised individual reports, and two country regulators asking for feedback on how to improve their regulatory regimes with regard to promoting transparency. Amanda is passionate about improving the global pension industry and shining a light on the elements that drive value will help do that.
As a global finance executive, independent board director, and servant leader committed to social and economic justice in underinvested communities, Yolanda Daniel launched a venture closely aligned with her personal values.
In December 2020, she co-founded The National Black Bank Fund and Foundation, which recently facilitated a $35 million loan between a syndicate of Black-owned banks and the Atlanta Hawks. This historical transaction marks the first time a professional sports team has had a significant loan underwritten exclusively by Black banks and is key to showing the strength of Black-owned financial institutions, ultimately ensuring Black entrepreneurs and families can have equitable access to capital by shoring up the banks in their communities. This was a truly unique collaboration as it was built by four Fellows from across the AGLN who pooled their collective talent and resources to launch this venture.
Bobby leveraged WhatsApp and his expertise to enable millions of people across India to increase their quality of life through access to financial products and services that are affordable, convenient, and secure.
For the roughly 81% of workers in India who make a living through informal means, job security is minimal and financial safety nets are all but nonexistent. In July 2020, WhatsApp India launched a pilot scheme that now offers a micro-pension to members of a women’s cooperative through its digital platform. Having started with micro-pensions, Bobby is now leading the testing of insurance and credit in an effort to eventually address the entire financial lifecycle of a person. The pension scheme itself is targeted at 200 million self-employed workers.
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has strong, but largely untapped, entrepreneurial potential. Yet, only a few Venture Capital (VC) firms in the region offer limited capital with aggressive and non-standard terms. Entrepreneurs face few options to raise money and little support to formalize creative ideas into concrete, realistic business plans.
Recognizing the critical need for a larger ecosystem supportive of innovation and risk-taking, Noor has revitalized how venture capital standards are set and raised in the MENA region. With a coalition of 15 leading VCs in MENA, she led the relaunch of the Middle East Venture Capital Association (MEVCA) in 2018, creating a platform for cross-learning and cooperation between the region’s VCs and to spread awareness and knowledge about the MENA startup ecosystem as a whole. The arrival of MEVCA as an industry body is helping to more clearly define the regional venture capital landscape, adding tangible value to the entrepreneurial community and overall growth of the region’s economy.
For Rodrigo Garcia, a lifelong out-of-the-box thinker and Marine Corp Veteran, impact and financial returns are more than compatible—they offer the opportunity to spur widespread economic growth. As part of his Fellowship journey, Rodrigo found the additional resolve to tackle a problem of epidemic proportions—the student loan crisis in the US. For his leadership venture, Rodrigo launched Bright Horizons, an effort that will leverage the Illinois State Treasury’s platform to address college affordability for both future students and the millions of borrowers already holding college debt. Bright Horizons aims to facilitate access to capital for Illinois students and to lower the cost of student debt for Illinois residents to promote college savings, homeownership, entrepreneurship, retirement savings, and improved economic outcomes in Illinois.
Girls Are Investors (GAIN) addresses the gender imbalance in UK investment management by informing and inspiring the next generation of female investors. The idea behind GAIN is simple, yet powerful: If you can’t see her, you can’t be her. Relatively few women take on investment careers in the UK; even fewer rise to the senior level.
Tilly recognizes the challenge as both one of inequity and one that jeopardizes the highest-quality decision-making in investing. “It’s impossible to believe,” Tilly explains, “that investment firms are going to make the best possible decisions when the majority of them are of people with very similar backgrounds. They are coming at it with a very narrow set of perspectives.”
With $7T of annual spending needed to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and only $1T of annual public funding and philanthropy, more investment capital is needed to achieve these goals by 2030.
Building on two ventures Marc Diaz initiated through his NatureVest platform at The Nature Conservancy — Coalition for Private Investment in Conservation and Conservation Investment Accelerator — SDG Invest: NatureHub will serve as a financial intermediary to evaluate capital needs and counsel firms and capital providers seeking to optimize financial, social, and environmental returns from nature-based investments in support of the SDGs. No existing entity brings the know-how, operating model, and independence to evaluate such opportunities rapidly and cost-effectively.