Overview of Affirmative Investment Management
Managing Partner, Stephen Fitzgerald provides an overview of Affirmative Investment Management.
Affirmative Investment Management (AIM) is a global fixed income manager focussed on delivering mainstream market returns with impact. AIM is the world’s first fund manager to dedicate their investment strategy to impact bonds (i.e. labelled green bonds, social bonds and sustainable bonds). AIM's innovative formula is a fusion of mainstream portfolio management and sustainability. This approach is new in the marketplace and draws on the experience of a team of leading experts in investment and sustainability, providing positive solutions to global challenges. AIM’s focus is to promote robust verification and reporting, along with active engagement, whilst ensuring repeatable performance and sustainable impact.
Established in 2014 by Stephen Fitzgerald and Stuart Kinnersley, AIM is 100% owned by its employees and headquartered in London, with offices in Washington and Sydney. AIM is comprised of like-minded investment professionals who are advocates for social and environmental change. The company was instrumental in the evolution of green bonds and has the longest track record in the impact bond market.
Colonial First State’s Alliance Partnership with AIM gives Australian retail investors access to an innovative approach that fuses mainstream portfolio management and sustainability.
AIM’s investment approach embeds sustainability criteria at the core of its investment process, with an investable universe of impact bonds (including labelled and unlabelled green bonds, social bonds and sustainable bonds) that have passed an Environment, Social, Governance (ESG) and sustainability screen. The verification process is one of positive selection to identify and verify issues and issuers that deliver a meaningful and measurable impact. AIM invests in bonds that fulfil their sustainability criteria, which cover a broad range of factors such as credit worthiness of the issuer, environment/social benefits and ability to determine that proceeds are dedicated to positive impact.
AIM’s investment philosophy is based on three core commitments:
Stephen has over 30 years’ experience in funds management. He serves on the boards of QBE Insurance Group, Lombard Odier Asset Management, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and the British Museum Investment Sub-Committee. In Australia, he is also a member of the NSW Government Expert Advisory Panel on Social Impact Bonds and, since its inception in April 2010, has been a Member of the Champions of Change Coalition (formerly Male Champion of Change). Stephen was an appointed member of the Board of Guardians of the Future Fund (Australia’s Sovereign Wealth Fund) and served for a period of five years until April 2016.
Previously, Stephen was Chairman of Goldman Sachs, Australia and New Zealand. He joined Goldman Sachs in 1992, as Chief Investment Officer for International Fixed Income and Currency within GSAM and has since been based in London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney and served on the firm’s Partnership Committee, European Management Committee and Asia Pacific Management Committee.
Stephen was made an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) for services to Investment Management and the Environment on Australia Day 2019.
Iain joined AIM as a partner in April 2021. Iain has over 30 years of fixed income market experience, the last 20 of which have been in fixed income investment management. Most recently Iain was a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs, based in London, where he co-led the global fixed income portfolio management team responsible for product development and client and consultant engagement around the world. In this capacity, Iain was responsible for the investment and risk management oversight of all fixed income portfolios and a member of fixed income strategy group of senior investors responsible for the formulation of strategic investment themes expressed in portfolios.
Before joining GSAM in 2001, Iain managed fixed income at J.P. Morgan Investment Management, with a principal focus upon the development and management of global fixed income portfolios on behalf of third-party and institutional clients, primarily within EMEA.
Prior to transitioning to investment management, Iain was a secondary-market fixed income investment strategist for Bank of Montreal in London and Credit Lyonnais in Paris, and a primary-market debt originator for ABN Amro Hoare Govett, in London.
Iain earned the CFA® designation in 2001, which was preceded by IMC, MBA, PhD and BSc qualifications in 2000, 1992, 1988 and 1985 respectively.
Justin has been instrumental in the green bond market since its early development, having managed the world’s first green bond fund, World Bank Green Bond Fund, whilst at Nikko Asset Management. He is the most experienced investment practitioner in the marketplace in terms of running a dedicated green bond portfolio successfully against a recognized standard benchmark, having consistently achieved this since 2010.
As Head of Portfolio Management at Affirmative Investment Management, a role he has held since 2015, Justin assists in developing solutions to meet investors’ needs with the management of portfolios of green and other use of proceeds bonds.
Justin has more than 30 years’ experience in the investment industry, managing multi-currency fixed income portfolios across the yield curve. He has worked with a broad range of clients from captive insurance funds, to retail funds and institutional mandates, as a portfolio manager at Aviva Investors and Nikko Asset Management. Justin has managed single- and multi-currency portfolios, in both developed and emerging markets, across all maturities, as well as money market funds.
Richard Petit has over 17 years’ experience in both buy and sell-side credit research and in credit rating agency. Before joining AIM in 2020 Richard was at Schroders for almost 2 years as a credit analyst having previously worked at a number of asset managers, including Gordian Knot and HSBC asset management. Richard also spent 7 years at rating agency Fitch Ratings and a year in Societe Generale IB’s sell-side credit research. Over the years, Richard has been covering a range of sectors including telecoms and media, oil & gas as well as utilities.
Kate joined AIM, as a partner in 2017, bringing over 28 years’ experience in investment management and financial markets. Kate’s ambition is to help deliver both financial returns and impact through mainstream investing. Kate leverages her extensive background in leadership, financial markets, communication and client engagement.
Kate was formerly a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs and Co-Head of Asia Pacific Ex-Japan Asset Management Institutional Sales (GSAM). In this capacity, Kate was responsible for GSAM’s client engagement and distribution throughout Australia, New Zealand and Asia, across a wide variety of asset classes. Prior to this, Kate worked in New York with Goldman Sachs JBWere, engaging with US clients within Institutional Equity Research Sales, having begun her 17-year career with Goldman Sachs as a research analyst.
As a member of AIM’s Sustainability Team, Katie conducts sustainability verification analysis on green and other use of proceeds bonds and supports AIM’s impact reporting capability.
Katie joined AIM in Summer 2019. She was previously a Senior Research Analyst at Climate Bonds Initiative. Katie had been at Climate Bonds for over 4 years where she had predominantly worked on the Climate Bonds Standard; a certification scheme and rule set defining what projects and assets are eligible for green bond financing across multiple sectors. While at Climate Bonds, Katie also supported the development of the European Commission’s Sustainable Finance Taxonomy.
Steph joined AIM’s Client Engagement team in November 2019.
Steph came to AIM from Seven Investment Management (7IM), an investment management business based in London, incorporating asset management, discretionary fund management and platform services, where she was an Investment Analyst. Sitting in the Portfolio Management team, Steph focused on the firm’s sustainable offering, co-managing their multi-asset Sustainable Balance Fund. She undertook fund manager research and selection across equities and fixed income, in both ESG-oriented and traditional funds, as well as assisting in the day-to-day management of 7IM’s active fund range. Prior to this role she worked both on the client side, in the Relationship Management department, and in the Project Management team.
Steph is currently a candidate for the CFA Level 3 exam and holds the Investment Management Certificate: Level 4.
Steph holds a BA (Hons) in History from the University of Oxford.
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