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September - Online
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Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing is a hot topic, championed as well as vilified globally. From charities to large fund managers, investors are looking beyond purely financial returns to tangible and sustainable impact. What does it take to be a responsible investor? What is the role of a lawyer with an impact fund, and what are the responsibilities of investors and managers? This subject explores both responsible and impact investing, highly dynamic and urgent topics in the transition to net zero and the challenge of the sustainable development goals.
The subject has a distinctly practical approach and is designed to assist students in developing the skills to assess, prioritise and negotiate impact transactions. We dig into the structuring, negotiation and documentation of impact investing across a broad spectrum, ranging from venture capital, direct and co-investments to managed equity funds. We also explore challenging and live legal topics such as corporate responsibility, fiduciary duty, disclosure obligations and impact washing.
Special attention is dedicated to how investors can generate meaningful and sustainable change in their engagement with investee companies and impact funds. Seasoned practitioners from across the market provide their insights as part of a valuable diversity in perspectives.
Principal topics include:
- Exploring impact and sustainability across private equity in the broadest sense, from venture capital and direct investments to managed funds.
- The wave of (hard and soft) relevant regulation, taking our cue for instance from EU sustainable finance directives on corporate responsibility and disclosure, to public policy and increasingly principles and best practices driven by market participants.
- Engagement of responsible (as well as activist) investors with investee companies and impact funds.
- Investor stewardship to help and drive change.
- The role of major institutional investors and sovereign wealth funds alongside NGOs.
- Reviewing and critiquing impact funds in practical case studies, lessons learnt from recent failures, and the toolbox of the responsible investor.
- Challenges to the credibility and growth of the impact investment market, and the role of market supervisors.
- The risk of ‘impact’ washing litigation for both investors and managers and how to mitigate or exploit it.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject, students should be able to:
- Examine and explain responsible, stewardship and impact investing across private equity, (private and sovereign wealth) funds and venture capital
- Analyse and contextualise the best practices and regulatory framework underpinning impact investing for financial institutions, fund managers and corporates and the legal, litigation and reputational risk for front-runners in this market
- Apply knowledge of the key legal concepts across these legal areas to impact investing in practice
- Critically review and negotiate the documentation and structuring of (for instance) impact funds
- Assess the legal risks of impact washing litigation and demonstrate approaches to mitigate and/or capitalise upon these risks.
- An advanced understanding of how the legal and regulatory architecture works in ESG investing works
- An understanding of the legal, litigation and reputational risks in sustainable investing, and how to evaluate the legal risks of impact washing litigation
- A sophisticated understanding of the key legal issues and principles associated with ESG investing
Last updated: 20 September 2023