Innovest founder Kiernan launches new sustainability fund manager

Inflection Point Capital Management informally unveiled in Davos.

Matthew Kiernan, former joint founder/owner of Innovest, the sustainable investment research house, is returning to the investment arena with a new sustainability focused fund manager called Inflection Point Capital Management, to be informally launched at this weeks World Economic Forum in Davos. Kiernan, who with former co-partner, Hewson Baltzell, sold Innovest to RiskMetrics Group for $16m in February 2009, will be chief executive officer of the new asset manager. The company, which is expected to shortly unveil its team of portfolio managers, will use a proprietary five-factor sustainability research model that aims to identify companies it believes will outperform peers due to best practice environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies and strategies.
Kiernan has been a long-time advocate of the potential for superior investment returns based on ESG factors. With the new fund manager he will switch from research advisor to hands-on investor.The Inflection Point research model is already being used by Corporate Knights, a Canadian responsible business magazine, for its 2010 Global 100 index of what it terms the world’s most sustainable companies. The index, launched in 2005 previously used sustainability ratings from Innovest. Corporate Knights says that from inception in February 2005, the Global 100 has achieved a total return of 23.67%, outperforming its benchmark, the MSCI All Country World Index, by 334 basis points per annum to January 25th this year.
Kiernan left RiskMetrics Group, where he had taken up the role of co-head of the Sustainability Solutions Group, in October last year just eight months after the buy-out of Innovest. Hewson Baltzell, co-founder and former president of Innovest stayed with RiskMetrics as co-head of the Sustainability Solutions Team. RiskMetrics was linked last week to reports that it had been put up for sale, although the company has declined to comment.