As Limited Partners (LPs) with extensive experience allocating to private market impact investment funds, we expect our General Partners (GPs) who manage these funds to provide us with regular reporting on both the financial performance and the impact performance of their portfolios.
In the same way that financial reports are essential to our analysis and management of financial performance, impact reports are a critical input to our understanding, expectation-setting, and communication with stakeholders around funds’ impact performance. Relevant and interpretable impact performance reporting deepens our trust in existing GPs and is an important input into our due diligence of prospective new GPs.
However, our ability to interpret and draw conclusions from the impact reports we receive today is hindered by the significant variability in the content and quality of these reports. We recognize that this inconsistency stems in part from the lack of widely accepted guidelines for what quality impact reporting looks like. We further recognize that we have an important role to play in establishing a common baseline for how GPs should report on their impact.
In order to increase the value of the impact reports we receive and help drive greater transparency and accountability in the impact investing market more broadly, we are committed to working together as LPs and in concert with other stakeholders to advance best practices in impact performance reporting.
As a signatory to this letter, we encourage GPs to adopt the “Key Elements of Impact Performance Reporting”, as proposed by BlueMark in its 2022 “Raising the Bar” report.
- We expect the impact performance reports we receive to abide by the overarching elements of Completeness — providing the full balance of relevant information needed to understand impact results and risks — and Clarity — presenting impact information in a manner that is digestible and that facilitates interpretation. We further expect impact reporting by GPs to include the following specific elements:
- Well-defined objectives and expectations: A quality impact report is explicit about the fund’s intent and impact objectives, including clarity on investor contribution and expected results.
- Relevant metrics: A quality impact report includes quantitative metrics that are standardized wherever possible and that link to the articulated impact objectives.
- Relative performance results: A quality impact report provides information that allows the reader to effectively interpret and contextualize measures of progress and performance against targets or expectations and against external benchmarks, as available.
- Integrated stakeholder perspectives: A quality impact report identifies affected stakeholders and incorporates their experiences and voices to the extent possible.
- Transparency about risks and lessons learned: A quality impact report is forthcoming about potential impact risks, failures, and lessons learned.
- Using BlueMark’s Key Elements as a starting point, we will work with industry standard-setters to develop common frameworks and templates, as useful, to further clarify and align LP demands for quality impact performance reporting from GPs.
We see the movement toward a common framework for quality impact performance reporting as critical to stewarding the continued growth and integrity of the impact investing industry.
Bank of America (Merrill and Private Bank)
Big Society Capital