We expected the usual power suit, but Durreen Shahnaz, the founder and chairperson of what is to be a new stock exchange come 2011, is wearing a vegetable dyed sari instead. Its material so light and supple, it flutters in the breeze. The image is powerful. The ex-investment banker and high flying media exec turned entrepreneur is, indeed, the face of a kinder and more conscious form of capitalism. Her Singapore-based Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) — Asia’s first social stock exchange — will be a capital market for social good. It is a lofty goal, but Shahnaz has never known how to aim for anything less.
A radically new form of social investment, championed by the century-old Rockefeller Foundation, the much younger Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and even financial powerhouses like Citigroup, is gaining followers. Antony Bugg-Levine, Managing Director of the US-based Rockefeller Foundation, shared with Naren Karunakaran ideas about the changing landscape of the philanthropic world.
In today's volatile markets, investors are looking for new ways to capture returns while managing risk. The little secret of this past year's capital crisis is that while many mainstream investments incurred significant losses in value, one category remained steady--with some investors significantly outperforming the mainstream market. It's called impact investing.