February 15, 2021

 

Over the last few years, we have seen investors increasing their allocations to both private markets and sustainable investment strategies as they look for ways to prepare their portfolios for the future.

We don’t see private markets and sustainability as distinct but complementary strategies within an investment portfolio. By considering the two, we think investors can make more informed choices with respect to their long-term strategy, potentially enhancing returns whilst minimising the downside.

We believe that private markets are a natural home for sustainability strategies, owing to the typically longer hold periods and greater degree of involvement, which underlying fund managers have in their portfolio companies.

Genuine influence

Allocating to private market funds, whether equity or debt, helps end investors to have more visibility, and, potentially, influence than investing in listed companies or publicly traded bonds. Typically, private market managers are very open to input from underlying investors, particularly when it comes to new initiatives like sustainable investing.

Privately held companies can be directly encouraged by private equity or bondholders to design, create and execute strategies that investors believe could help them create value over the long term. These suggestions could also contribute to an investor’s own specific ambitions on impact or ESG.

This is a key way for asset management to take the opportunity to drive forward sustainable ideas and effect genuine change.

Whole wide world

With just a small fraction of the world’s total number of companies either listed on stock exchanges or with publicly traded debt, the universe that is available to private investors is vast.

This means the choice of sector, industry and geography is much broader too, offering opportunities to invest in companies of all maturities, sizes and types.

Our approach

We have been investing across private markets for many years and have built up relationships with high quality managers in all strategies. We understand and monitor their processes and, thanks to our position and scale in the market, are often able to access highly sought-after funds, and gain visibility on new launches.

We have also been a global pioneer in sustainable investment, advising institutions on the creation of the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment and engaging with organisations including the Investor Groups on Climate Change.

Our innovative approach to sustainable investment, backed by a dedicated, forward-looking research team, dovetails with our private markets capability to offer our clients a way to combine these important elements in their portfolio.

See how we can help you explore sustainability through your private market portfolio today. 

Our experts

Julia Schiffer, Senior Portfolio Manager

Julia Schiffer is a Senior Portfolio Manager based in Zurich. Ms. Schiffer joined SCM Strategic Capital Management AG in 2010, which was acquired by Mercer in 2015.

Ms. Schiffer is responsible for the portfolio management of Mercer's Real Asset programs and as such is involved in the sourcing, due diligence and selection of primary and secondary fund investments as well as co-investments. She is also a member of the Mercer Infrastructure Rating Review Committee, and a member of the Sustainable Opportunities Investment Committee.

She has been in the financial services industry since 2008.

Ania Manczyk, Private Equity Specialist

Ania Manczyk is a Private Equity Specialist based in Zurich. She joined Mercer in 2020. Ania Manczyk is responsible for evaluating and reviewing private equity managers and co-investments in Europe with a particular focus on France and Southern Europe. She is also a member of the European Private Equity Rating Review Committee, and a member of the Private Equity and Sustainable Opportunities Investment Committees.

 

She joined from Lombard Odier in Geneva, where she was responsible for the European Private Equity Program, as well as real assets on a global basis. She led the sourcing and due diligence of investment opportunities across these strategies for both in-house products and separate mandates. She also launched the Bank’s first impact private equity fund. Ania Manczyk has been working in financial services since 2001, in both London and Geneva.

 

She holds an MBA from Instituto de Empresa in Madrid, Spain, as well as an MA (Hons) in Economics from the University of Cambridge.

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