The Schroder BSC Social Impact Trust allows ordinary investors access to private market impact investment for the first time and brings additional capital to help social enterprises and charities. Joining up impact with investment return.
Back in 2020, Big Society Capital partnered with Schroders to launch the Schroder BSC Social Impact Trust with a clear ambition; to connect investment capital with organisations and charities that improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable people living in the UK.
The joint venture between Schroders and Big Society Capital recognised that many of the investment opportunities delivering the highest level of social impact are found in private markets which, although they have increasing institutional investor backing, are not easily accessible to other investors without specialist expertise and deep networks.
To bring these opportunities to a wider audience, Schroders and Big Society Capital (BSC), are now able to provide investors with unique access to a diversified portfolio of high-impact private market investments within a liquid investment vehicle.
When tackling social issues, it’s important to recognise the need for a diversity of solutions.
Anna Shiel, Head of Origination, Big Society Capital said “There is a growing impact driven investment market in the UK which is targeting genuine social impact whilst delivering a sustainable financial return. When tackling social issues, it’s important to recognise the need for a diversity of solutions. At Big Society Capital we recognise that different social issues may require distinct business models and asset classes. This can include lending to charities, social outcomes contracts, and high impact housing.”
The company now invests in a diversified portfolio of private market impact funds and makes co-investments alongside other impact investors to gain exposure to private market social impact investments. The trust has since committed £87 million to over 160 organisations, benefitting more than 160,000 people at least 90% of whom are disadvantaged and vulnerable. The trust aims to confront a range of social challenges in the UK, working with impact driven fund managers and banks to tackle issues like homelessness, health and social care and domestic abuse.
The trust has committed £87 million to over 160 organisations, benefitting more than 160,000 people at least 90% of whom are disadvantaged and vulnerable.
Hull Women’s Network is a shining example of how impact investment opportunities can deliver genuine social impact alongside good risk adjusted returns for investors. Hull Women's Network offers specialist domestic abuse support, nursery provision and affordable housing across Hull. The Social and Sustainable Housing fund has enabled Hull Women’s Network to purchase 49 houses for more than 300 women and children dispersed across Hull, increasing the charity’s capacity to provide critical support to women and children fleeing from domestic violence.
When asked about the lessons learned from creating The Social and Sustainable Capital Community Investment Fund, Mark Bickford, Chief Investment Officer, Social and Sustainable Capital said: ‘When we set out on this journey, we assumed that we were going to be the teachers. As the fund manager, we thought we would be the ones teaching charities about finance, but in fact, we have learnt so much from each other. The success of this fund is down to it being a genuine co-design. The insight from Hull Women’s Network has been fundamental to the highly effective deployment of capital and created true social impact, not just for them but many charities across the UK.”
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