Golding Hires Sonanz Team for Impact Fund

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Stockholm (NordSIP) – As part of Golding Capital Partners expansion into impact investing, the asset manager has hired Andreas Nilsson and Nina Freudenberg to lead the Golding investment team, as Head of Impact and Director, respectively.

Golding Capital Partners is an independent asset manager for private equity, private debt and infrastructure in Europe, with a team of over 120 professionals in offices across Munich, Luxembourg, London, New York and Tokyo, overseeing US$10 billion in AUM.

The Importance of Expertise, Selection and Exit

- Promotion -

Golding intends to launch its first global impact private equity fund of funds for institutional investors in the second half of 2021. The impact investors were hired for the expertise they developed as founders of Sonanz, a boutique fund manager for impact investments in private equity set up in 2015. At the end of 2017, the duo launched its first fund, Sonanz Impact 1 – a private-equity fund of funds focused on impact investments – with US$10 million of investments from investors including SEB and the H&M Foundation.

Nilsson highlights three takeaways from their experience with Sonanz. “The first lesson we learned is the importance of domain expertise. We have seen that local managers who are specialists in their respective sectors are the best way to invest in the winners of a sustainable future,” Nilsson tells NordSIP. “Secondly, there are more potential target funds on a global level than we expected when we initially founded Sonanz and the number keeps growing every week. Not all are of high quality which makes clear criteria and an efficient selection process even more important. Finally, we have found that exit processes can be difficult to predict. At Sonanz, we have seen a number of early successful exits, but we also expect the holding periods of other companies to be slightly longer than in traditional private equity.”

Before founding Sonanz, Andreas Nilsson was a private equity investor for 25 years, primarily at EQT and UBS. He holds a PhD in social finance from the Stockholm School of Economics and spent two years as a visiting fellow at Harvard Business School. Prior to Sonanz, Nina Freudenberg worked for a private equity firm in Bangladesh. She holds an MSc in international health policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a BSc in European Public Health from Maastricht University.

Opening New Opportunities for Clients

Golding intends to structure its first impact fund as a private equity fund of funds with a global approach, investing in a diversified portfolio of growth capital funds in the sectors of ecotech, sustainable food and agriculture and financial services.

“The coming decades will be defined by an increasing climate awareness. It will change both consumer behaviour and production processes radically”, explains Andreas Nilsson. “As investors, we want to counteract the climate crisis and intend to invest along two themes. Firstly, we will focus on new technologies, developed in Europe and North America, which reduce greenhouse gas emissions and resource consumption. The second theme centres around transformative business models for essential products and services aimed explicitly at ‘emerging consumers’. It is important that countries in emerging markets that strive for greater prosperity for their populations achieve growth decoupled from greenhouse gas emissions. These fast-growing economies should not repeat the mistakes made by industrialised countries.”

For Nilsson, one of the appeals of making this move is Golding’s ability to open up new opportunities for clients. “Golding helps institutional investors get exposure to new investment strategies and to grant them access to opportunities in areas outside their own core expertise.”

“Impact is a good example of this. It’s a new field that spans many niche sectors and geographic regions. Very few investors have the in-house resources required to identify, screen and select the right target funds from the hundreds of relevant PE/VC funds within this space. Hence, a platform such as Golding is a great entry point for many investors. I believe that Golding has a lot to offer Nordic investors, not least when it comes to impact investments,” Nilsson adds.

Attracting Pioneers

“We are delighted to have attracted Andreas and Nina to our team. Sonanz was one of the pioneers of impact investing with a bold vision that is now ready to scale. Alongside the team’s deep impact investing expertise and many years of experience, they also have the specialist knowledge and understanding required for this field,” Founder and Managing Partner Jeremy Golding explains.

“We have been tracking the impact investing sector for many years now and our next step will take us well beyond ESG; we intend to make a positive, quantifiable contribution towards solving society’s greatest challenges without compromising on returns,” Golding concludes.

Images courtesy of Golding and by Oleksiy Shuman from Pixabay

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The coronavirus epidemic has further accelerated the rise of ESG into the investment mainstream. As deficits skyrocket, bond investors have an opportunity to engage with governments on climate change, argues Thomas Dillon, Senior Macro ESG Analyst at Aviva Investors.

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