See Impact Investing As Part of An Evolution Towards a Fairer Society: Ronald Cohen
Ronald Cohen, one of the pioneers of private equity in Europe who set up and ran investment group Apax Partners for 33 years, has turned into an evangelist for social enterprises. The 70-year-old, currently chairman of The Portland Trust and Bridges Ventures, believes that impact investing -which looks at both financial and social returns -can be a game changer for social development. Cohen, with more than $55 billion of global assets under management, is in India to meet investors, philanthropists and social entrepreneurs. In an interview with ET, he talks about the global trends in the social investment space. Edited excerpts:
India has a culture of charity, rather than philanthropy, due to cultural reasons. Do you see a shift in the attitude of wealthy Indian business leaders?
Yes, I think the behaviour will change. Like in the United States, the giving pledge is a good example of what you might see in India. The billionaires who have committed to give away half of their fortune, is quite a significant number and they have begun to look at impact investment. At a recent giving pledge event, there was a panel with the three leading lights of impact investment in the US -Matt Bannick of the Omidyar Foundation, which has been very active in India, Jean Case of the Case Foundation, and Laura Arnold of the Laura and John ArnoldFoundation, which has been one of the big proponents of social impact bonds.The new money, which has been successful because of business discipline, entrepreneurship and innovation -is beginning to connect with impact investments as a better way than grants to helping improve other people’s lives.