Canadian government the latest to investigate social finance

Will look at social impact bonds and payment-by-results schemes

The Canadian government has become the latest country to explore how the burgeoning social finance approach can unlock capital to improve social and economic outcomes.
Examples of the kind of projects that could be considered include Social Impact Bonds and payment-for-results schemes as exemplified by the UK’s Peterborough Prison project, the government says.
Minister of Human Resources and Skills Diane Finley has launched a ‘Call for Concepts for Social Finance’, after the government announced it would explore social finance opportunities in the 2012 budget.
“Social finance has enormous potential for unlocking new sources of capital and new ways of thinking to improve social and economic outcomes for Canadians,” Finley said.
“I am inviting organizations and individuals from across the country to help our Government take the next step by bringing their best ideas forward.
“Whether they are high level concepts or detailed proposals, the goal is to help identify future partners and inform how we can shape our existing programs tobetter support social innovation.” Ideas will be accepted until December 31.

Following the close of the Call for Concepts, a summary report of findings will be made available.

Meanwhile, a survey of pension funds by Social Finance, in the UK, found that 48% of respondents expect to be invested in Impact Investments within the next 12-24 months. It surveyed 47 organisations with a total of £143bn (€178.5bn) in assets under management. “If pension funds are interested in diversification of investments, [we] believe that Impact Investments provide a route to do so.”

It all comes as Ian Bragg, Associate Director, Research Policy & Institutional Services at Canada’s Social Investment Organization, has responded to an article in the Toronto Globe & Mail entitled “Ethical investing: A feel-good way to lose money”.
Bragg argues there is a lot of research to show that investors do not have to compromise returns when aligning their investments and values. And he says the item “grossly misrepresents the performance of the Jantzi Social Index. Link to Call for Concepts