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Case Study: Sustainable Investing

We have been working with a client, a high net-worth family for over two years to manage their broad portfolio of day-to-day finances, including personal, various trusts, and a private foundation. During our time supporting the family and our ongoing interactions with the family, their wealth managers, and trust and estate attorney, we have gained first-hand exposure to the world of sustainable investing. This is when the client’s financial goals are created in alignment with their environmental and social values, so they support and mirror one another. One of AFP’s core values is always being in a learning mindset for growth, so we wanted to understand in greater detail the growing trend of sustainable investing and its potential benefits for investors and society as a whole. 

Wealth Management Approach

We spoke with Stephanie Withers a partner at Bel Air Investment Advisors about sustainable investing and how they have been successful at integrating this benefit of investing with alignment into their firm’s offerings. Stephanie’s firm services the specific investment needs and interests of wealthy individuals, families, and foundations. The firm specializes in integrating clients’ values into their financial management. They help clients establish the goals that are important to them, including spending needs, philanthropic efforts, family support, and value-driven investments.

Customized Strategy

Leaning into the client’s values as a guide, the firm develops a tailored investment strategy for the client, focusing on (example scenarios only, for illustration):

  1. Environmental Goals:
    • Excluding Fossil Fuels: Restructuring and screening  the portfolio to exclude fossil fuels.
    • Supporting Environmental Causes: Directing investments towards environmental non-profits and advocacy groups.
    • Climate-Focused Investments: Investing in climate-focused venture capital funds.
  2. Social Responsibility:
    • Gender Diversity: Investing in companies promoting gender diversity.
    • Reproductive Rights: Supporting initiatives advocating for reproductive rights.
    • Financial Literacy: Funding educational programs for financial literacy through generations and across the family spectrum, boys and girls alike.

Outcomes

Stephanie Withers highlights:

  • Defining these goals and values opens lines of communication and helps steward wealth over time while contributing to positive change.

Take Away

From a conversation with a subject matter expert on sustainable investing like Stephanie, we  learned  how high net worth individuals and families are leveraging their resources to express and drive social and environmental change, aligning their investments with their values for lasting impact.