Stockholm (NordSIP) – The wave of sustainability firms’ acquisitions has grown steadily for a couple of years now, and it looks like it is carrying over into 2022. On 27 January, international savings and investments business M&G plc announced that it has agreed to acquire a majority stake in responsAbility Investments AG, a leader in impact investing focused on private debt and private equity across emerging markets. Upon hearing the news, NordSIP reached out to William Nicoll, CIO of M&G Private & Alternative Assets, to hear more about this exciting development.
“It is a rare opportunity to find a partner that complements our business so perfectly,” comments Nicoll. He seems genuinely impressed by the deep knowledge and understanding of impact investing in private assets across emerging markets that responsAbility has developed during the past twenty years. “There are simply no shortcuts to getting this kind of expertise; you have to live through it,” says Nicoll.
A pioneer in the impact investing space, responsAbility has invested more than USD 11 billion in private assets across emerging markets since its inception in 2003. More recently, the Zurich-headquartered firm has focused on companies with business models tied to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The company invests across three SDG-related themes in particular: Financial Inclusion, Climate Finance, and Sustainable Food.
Announcing the acquisition, M&G points out that they intend to keep the brand’s identity. This is understandable, given responsAbility’s impeccable credentials as an impact investor and the firm’s strong performance track record. “We don’t want to change them,” says Nicoll. “We just want to help them expose to the world the amazing work that they do, offer them a broader canvas. At the same time, we hope to absorb some of their knowledge and, hopefully, get to apply it to other regions and markets in the future,” he continues. “It helps, of course, that the cultures of the two organisations seem to blend really well. It has been delightful to work with responsAbility,” adds Nicoll.
The current management team, led by Chief Executive Officer Rochus Mommartz, will continue to lead the business. “We are excited to join forces with M&G, as this will bring our vision for impact investing to the next level,” comments Mommartz in the press release. “M&G’s financial strength, distribution network and its strong commitment to sustainability will accelerate our endeavours to meet the massive unmet demand in developing countries and the needs for climate finance. Together we can achieve an even more meaningful contribution to a sustainable world.”
With the acquisition of responsAbility, M&G significantly strengthens its position in the rapidly growing market for sustainable investments, especially in emerging markets. “Joining forces with a proven leader in impact investing is an important step for us, not least in the Nordic context,” says Nicoll. “We are aware that our Nordic client base has been particularly focused on sustainability, and we hope to prove our commitment in this area to them,” concludes Nicoll.