Panel Day 1 16:30: ESG Idealism vs. Realism: Overcoming Doubts and Demonstrating Opportunities for Returns

Cape Town, South Africa, Thursday 29 August 2013

@IMN_Investment  #ACIM2013

SinCo works as a project partner to the IMNI team producing their fourth Africa Cup of Investment Management conference 29 - 30 August 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa. This page captures our event collaboration. Follow tweets on @IMN_Investment and @SinCoESG, as well as @ESGarchitect. 

See also

UPDATED SPEC 23 August 2013

The sustainable investment theme is an established approach in asset management globally, and in Africa. Over US$13.6 trillion in professionally managed assets today is self-described to include environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors globally, and over US$450 billion in frontier and emerging markets integrating ESG according to SinCo estimates. But barriers to growth remain. For many advocates of the various sub-themes such as high-impact investing or developmental investing, the metrics are still not precise enough. 

The seminal Sustainable Investment in Sub-Saharan Africa report (SinCo + RisCura commissioned by IFC, July 2011 LINK) made five strategic recommendations to incentivize the investment value chain to integrate ESG factors into investment decisions, by simplifying the language of definitions, promoting shared learnings from the dynamic local industry, building out a stronger investment case and tracking the growth of the theme. But many investors still consider the sustainable investment thematic to be a luxury service, a nice idea, maybe even noble, but incapable of producing desired returns or too difficult to execute.

This panel explores challenges this mindset by offering clear, practical entry-points to the sustainable investment thematic and demonstrates opportunities for returns.

  • How investors today are applying technologies like screening, active ownership, targeted sector investment, or high impact investing in different asset classes.
  • The role of fund trustees, asset consultants, financial advisors and private wealth practitioners.
  • Institutional investors: when will ESG be the new normal?
  • Asset class rundown of opportunities for financial returns and high development impact.
  • How much is 'hype versus reality' is in the sustainable investment theme in Africa today? What of the next year?



June 2013

You have been recommended by several of my colleagues as an expert in this regard and as such I would like to invite you to moderate this track session: 16:30 ESG Idealism vs. Realism: Overcoming Doubts and Demonstrating Opportunities for Returns 

For many advocates of socially-responsible investments (SRI), sustainable investing, environmental social governance (ESG), impact investing and any number of areas in finance with an environmental, social or ethical component, all too often they are confronted with negative or skeptical attitudes towards the potential for returns. Many investors still consider these types of investments to be a luxury a nice idea, but incapable of producing the level of returns desired. 

This panel explores how to challenge this mindset by offering clear, practical platforms to entry and demonstrating realistic opportunities for returns.

  • *How investors can be shown routes into four levels of ESG/SRI/Impact involvement: Negative screening; Positive screening ; Investment in sectors targeting specific benefits; Direct Impact Investing
  • *Other examples of ESG/SRI platforms or routes to entry
  • *The role of financial advisors and private wealth management in furthering ESG/SRI among clients
  • *Institutional investors: catching the big fish of the investment world and diverting capital to SRI; how can institutional involvement in SRI be encouraged and increased?
  • *Asset class-by-asset class rundown of opportunities for financial returns in SRI/Impact, and where to find them


  1. 2 minute intro to your day job, what size of assets you/your firm manage, what ESG issues you do/do not work with. 
  2. If no-one wants to be an irresponsible or unsustainable investor, why is responsible investment and sustainable investment so hard to do?
  3. In investment with ESG, in what way are you an idealist? A realist?
  4. What role has private client, HNW and segregated client mandates play in ESG?
  5. What has been your best (worst) ESG investment in the past year?
  6. CLOSE: What one thing should the audience know about your work still to come in 2013? (1 minute closing comment)


  • Graham Sinclair, Principal at SinCo [Sustainable Investment Consulting] and Co-Founder of [Africa Sustainable Investment Forum]. 


  • Belaina Negash, Research Analyst, GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES PENSION FUND (GEPF) 
  • Jon Duncan, Head of Sustainability Research and Engagement, OLD MUTUAL INVESTMENT GROUP, SA

More information will be released soon.


Belaina Negash

Research Analyst


Belaina joined GEPF on 1 May 2012 and is responsible for supporting the GEPF's ESG strategy for responsible investment and active ownership. This includes:

  • Engaging listed companies on ESG issues
  • Proxy voting on listed equities
  • Supporting ESG manager and Investment & Actuarial department on research and projects which the Fund is involved in

Belaina comes from an investment background having worked in the insurance industry. She implemented and managed a $23 million offshore property fund. She also worked as an intern at JP Morgan in the Foreign Exchange & Derivatives Desk. Prior to joining GEPF, Belaina worked at PPS Insurance as an Investment Analyst for two years.

Xolisa Dhlamini

South Africa Network Manager


Xolisa has been the SA Network Manager at the PRI Association since April 2013. He is responsible for co-ordinating and managing the activities of the South African network of signatories. He is also tasked with raising awareness about PRI and responsible investment amongst institutional investors in South Africa as well as the rest of the continent.

Prior to joining the PRI Association, Xolisa spent more than 8 years in the South African retirement fund industry. He was previously a senior investment consultant at Independent Actuaries and Consultants, where his primary role was to provide investment advisory services to South African institutional investors. His responsibilities included liability analysis, investment strategy formulation, implementation and monitoring on behalf of institutional investors. Xolisa has also held asset consulting positions at Absa Consultants and Actuaries and Alexander Forbes Asset Consultants.

Xolisa is a member of the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa and serves as a non-executive director of the Sibikwa Community Art Centre in Benoni which provides education in the field of performing arts. He also volunteers a member of the mentorship committee at Alexandra Education Committee which provides educational support for talented kids from his home township in Alexandra.

Xolisa holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Economics and Business Finance from the University of the Witwatersrand, a Bachelor of Commerce with Honours from the University of South Africa and a Masters in Development Finance from the University Of Cape Town. Xolisa has a keen interest in socio-economic development as well as sustainable and responsible investment practices in Africa.

Jon Duncan

Head of Sustainability Research and Engagement


CURRENT RESPONSIBILITY: Jon joined the boutique on 1 February 2011, and some of his responsibilities, include:

- Developing a capability to incorporate ESG factors into company analysis and valuation, as well as input into boutiques portfolio positioning.

- Driving and representing OMIGSA in industry discussions on SRI (Socially Responsible Investing)/ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) principles, regulations and frameworks such as the South African Code for Responsible Investment (CRISA) and the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment (UNPRI).

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: He has a proven ability in managing and growing a multidisciplinary sustainability consulting practice operating across diverse geographies in multiple sectors. Technical expertise in energy, corporate governance, climate change, water, waste and social issues with significant experience in strategic corporate environmental and social risk management.

Prior to joining OMIGSA, Jon worked at Environmental Resource Management as a partner for four years. Before that, he worked at Trialogue as a senior sustainability researcher and consultant. The rest of his working experience comprises of similar positions in addition to two directorships.

Graham Sinclair

Principal at SinCo [Sustainable Investment Consulting] 

Co-Founder of [Africa Sustainable Investment Forum]

Graham is a sustainable investment strategist at SinCo - sustainable investment consulting. At SinCo he leads engagements to design and develop the sustainable investment case for clients managing billion dollar investments or global investor initiatives. As ESG architect he integrates environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into investment strategies, processes and indexes in frontier and emerging markets. Recent projects tackled private equity in emerging markets, green bonds, pension fund investment value chains, a national sustainability index and impact investing. As an original thinker at the frontier of sustainable investment, his work over the past decade has explored sustainable investment themes including long-term investment, influential investor networks, fiduciary duty, carbon intensity, water scarcity, biodiversity, nutrition security, and sustainable mining. Before joining KLD in Boston, he worked in investment banking and managed private sector pension funds, exiting global multi-manager SEI Investments in 2002. Graham chairs the Prudential Assets Working Group of the investment industry group ASISA, is a member of the Investment Analysts Society and lifetime member of Net Impact. Graham is President and co-founder of the not-for-profit Africa Sustainable Investment Forum project, 

Graham has lectured on sustainable investment at leading business schools in North America, Europe and Africa, and has contributed three chapters on Private Equity, Africa and Sustainability Indexes to "Evolutions in Sustainable Investing" (Wiley Finance, 2012). Graham holds an MBA from the Villanova School of Business (where he co-designed the long-only US equity Arnone-Lerer Fund) and an LL.B from the Howard College School of Law as well as various industry certifications including the inaugural WWF One Planet Leaders programme in 2008. Graham resides in Vermont, USA and Western Cape, South Africa. On any day he would rather be cycling a mountain pass.

Attending Organisations (at 19 August 2013, alphabetical)

  • Consultant, Abercrombie IM
  • Senior Investment Analyst, ACSIS
  • Head of Institutional Asset Consulting, ACSIS
  • Consultant, ACSIS
  • Public Policy Actuary, Actuarial Society of South Africa
  • Principal Pension Officer, African Development Bank Group
  • Chief Investment Officer, African Development Bank Group
  • Founder and Executive Chairman, African Rainbow Minerals (ARM)
  • Consultant, Alexander Forbes
  • Principal Consultant, Alexander Forbes
  • Financial Advisor/Director, Allegiant Wealth
  • Independent Investment Advisor, Alpha Fox Investment Consulting (AFIC)
  • Chief Executive Officer, Amity Wealth
  • Investor, Attorneys Fidelity Fund
  • Financial Planner, Bay Willow Investments CC
  • Secretary/Accountant, Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund
  • Managing Director, The Bridge
  • Director, Consulting, Brockhouse Cooper
  • Principal Executive Officer, Cape Clothing Industry Provident Fund
  • Trustee, Cape Municipal Pension Fund
  • Wealth Manager, Capital Exchange Partners
  • Financial Advisor, Capstone Wealth Managers
  • Financial Analyst, Capstone Wealth Managers
  • President, CFA South Africa
  • Investment Analyst, Citadel Wealth Management
  • Director of Treasury, City of Cape Town
  • Head of Investments & Cashflow, City of Cape Town
  • Consultant, Collective Endeavours
  • Owner, Destination Wealth
  • Certified Financial Planner, De Wet De Villiers Financial Services
  • Managing Director/Financial Advisor, Dinamika Makelaars
  • Financial Advisor, Dolberg Spencer
  • Chief Investment Officer, Eskom Pension & Provident Fund
  • Trustee/Inv Comm Member, Eskom Pension & Provident Fund
  • Investment Manager, Eskom Pension & Provident Fund
  • Managing Director, ETF SA
  • Financial Planner, Faulds & Associates
  • Editor, Finweek
  • Director, First Global
  • Investment Analyst, First Global
  • Financial Advisor, FNB Retail Banking
  • Investment Strategist, FNB Retail Banking
  • Portfolio Manager, FNB Wealth
  • Chief Executive Officer, Freeworld Capital Holdings (Pty) Ltd
  • Independent Actuary & Consultant, Gavin Finch
  • Research Analyst, Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF)
  • Investment Committee Member, Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF)
  • Investment Manager, Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF)
  • Research Analyst, Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF)
  • Compliance & Legal Manager, Government Institutions Pension Fund
  • Treasury Officer, Grain Marketing Board GMB
  • Treasury Accountant, Grain Marketing Board GMB
  • CEO, Gray Swan Investments
  • Founder and CEO, Hedge Fund Academy
  • Wealth Relationship Manager, Hereford Group of Companies
  • Financial Analyst, Hereford Group of Companies
  • Certified Financial Planner, Hugo Capital
  • Executive Director, Independent Actuarial Consultants
  • Financial Advisor, Independent Wealth Advisors
  • Board Member, Institute of Retirement Funds
  • CEO, Insurewell Financial Advisors
  • Financial Planner, Insurewell Financial Advisors
  • Financial Advisor, Insurewell Financial Advisors
  • Chief Investment Officer, Investment Solutions
  • Assistant Pension Officer, Kenya Ports Authority
  • Consultant/Owner, Leboka Consultancy Services
  • Financial Services Writer, Mail & Guardian
  • Trustee & Founder, Makgeru Kabu Family Trust
  • Financial Advisor, Martin Eksteen Jordaan Wessels
  • Principal Officer, Media24 Retirement Fund
  • Head of Asset Consulting, Miton Optimal
  • Consultant, Municipal Employees Pension Fund
  • Chairman of Board, Nampak Contributory Provident Fund
  • Trustee, Nampak Contributory Provident Fund
  • Director, National Treasury-Republic of South Africa
  • Principal Officer, Nehawu National Provident Fund
  • Advisor, Newel Financial Services CC
  • Actuarial Manager, Old Mutual Life Assurance Company
  • Portfolio Manager/CFP, Origin Financial
  • Chief Investment Officer, Phaladi Alternative Investments
  • Group Principal Officer, Post Office Retirement Fund
  • Manager Retirement Funds, Post Office Retirement Fund
  • Consultant, PPA Financial
  • Financial Advisor, PPS Investments
  • Chairperson, Prasa Provident Fund
  • Principal Officer & Independent Trustee, Principal Officers Association
  • Managing Director, PRMALSolution
  • Managing Director/Financial Planner, ProVerte Wealth Management
  • Senior Analyst, PSG Wealth
  • Financial Advisor, Psidean Financial Services
  • Financial Advisor/Director, Progressive Wealth
  • Senior Manager, Public Investment Corporation
  • Portfolio Manager Equities, Public Investment Corporation
  • Senior Financial Planner, Quoin Wealth (Pty) Ltd
  • Consultant, Retirement Fund Solutions Namibia (Pty) Ltd
  • Managing Director, Retirement Fund Solutions Namibia (Pty) Ltd
  • Principal Officer, Retirement Fund Solutions Namibia (Pty) Ltd
  • Head of Research and Special Projects, RisCura
  • Head of Investment Consulting, RisCura
  • Head of Fundamentals, RisCura Fundamentals
  • Managing Director, Robson Savage
  • President/Advisor, Roche Cowley & Associates
  • Trustee, Shell Pension Fund
  • Financial Advisor, Silvertree Risk & Wealth Management
  • Investment Consultant and Actuary, Simeka Consultants & Actuaries
  • Co-Founder, AFRICASIF.ORG, Principal + Sustainable Investment Architect, SinCo
  • Chief Investment Officer, Southern Charter
  • Certified Financial Planner, Spectrum Financial Consulting
  • Managing Director, Sukha and Associates
  • Advisor, Summa Financial Services
  • Project Manager, Sustainable Returns for Pensions and Society
  • Financial Advisor, The Financial Coach
  • Trustee, Tshwane Pension Fund
  • Chief Financial Officer, Unemployment Insurance Fund
  • South Africa Network Manager, United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI)
  • Head of PhD Programme, University of Stellenbosch Business School
  • Professor of Development Finance, University of Stellenbosch Business School
  • Associate Professor: Development Finance, University of Stellenbosch Business School
  • School of Business & Finance, University of the Western Cape
  • Financial Planner, Veritas Wealth Management
  • Portfolio Manager, VERSO
  • Financial Advisor, VisionMed Investments


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"Graham has been a great friend and colleague over the years, and is an absolutely first-class speaker and session leader particularly in the areas of ESG and indexing." - Producer, Investment Management Unit of global conference producer, Boston

"Your presentation was awesome!"  - Editor, online investment forum

"It was great to see you at the conference. You did a stellar job with your segment – as always!"  -  Head of Investment Research Institute, South African asset consultant firm

"Graham brings energy, ideas and networks for solutions to complex challenges linking good business practice with good development practice. He is an exceptional facilitator of expert panels and groups of diverse stakeholders." - Manager, international financing facility, international organization, Geneva.

"Graham was extremely helpful in helping get up the curve on our sustainability initiative. Graham was very knowledgeable and insightful and allowed us to quickly get up the curve on Sustainability." - Chief Administrative Officer, Global Real Estate, trillion-dollar New York headquartered global institutional investor.

"For many investors, getting to grips with ESG issues in emerging markets is a top priority. Graham's work at PRI was crucial in encouraging new partnerships in diverse markets for this valuable work." - Executive Director, foremost responsible investment organization in Asia and former i-banking analyst.

“Graham is a very driven and passionate person to work with. His out-of-the-box thinking helped to market and increase brand awareness for KLDs Indices. We were also able to utilize his expertise in ESG Factors at our Annual Investment Symposium to hundreds of investment professionals across the United States. His friendly personality made working with him a joy.” - Institutional Sales, global investment data analytics provider.

“Graham is an excellent project manager with great leadership and creativity. While at KLD, he got to know each person's strength within a short period of time and brought out his/her best. Graham's leadership and passion for social responsibility were very inspiring. I highly recommend Graham and hope to have the opportunity to work with him again.” - MBA student, Boston.

“Graham is one of the best lecturers that I have been fortunate enough to have studied with. His style is uniquely intelligent, sharp and rich. With a wide range of contacts and highly resourceful, the sessions were riveting and especially lively, keeping everyone "on our toes" and stimulating us to learn and improve, to do more and better. I highly recommend Graham as a lecturer and professional, he is a truly outstanding change-agent and catalyser.” - MBA candidate, UK

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