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Performance data of social investment released for first time

New data published last week reveals the financial performance of more than 400 closed investment deals in the UK social investment market.

The dataset represents the largest aggregate study to date of historic social investment performance. Commissioned by the Social Investment Research Council and Royal Bank of Scotland, it uncovers the financial characteristics of deals, including their risk and return.

A universal data model was developed by EngagedX to produce comparable benchmark data, which can help demonstrate the history of social investment and build confidence in the market. The anonymised performance data offers a snapshot of investments, ranging from £2,400 to £2.7m.  The data was provided by CAF Venturesome, Key Fund and Social Investment Business on both debt and equity investments made between 2002 and 2014.

Main findings from the data and the data collection process include:

  • A very high level of engagement and customisations offered by investors, tailoring finance to social sector organisations to meet their changing needs.
  • Overall, the total financial return over the 12 year period was negative 9.2%. The data was taken from a higher risk portion of the social investment market. In this portion market building and social impact are often prioritised and losses can be higher.

This is the first time that social investment transactions from multiple investors have been combined into a single, comparable, dataset – once again demonstrating that the UK is at the forefront of the global movement to develop social investment as a force for good.

Karl H Richter, CEO of EngagedX, said: “I commend CAF Venturesome, Key Fund and Social Investment Business as the vanguard in data transparency and thank them for their enormous efforts to make this project possible. We would like this seminal dataset to be expanded over time to be more representative of the full complexion of deals in the market, ranging from those that prioritise social return to those that prioritise financial return. This will give social investors the necessary access to reliable and anonymised performance data that will enable them to better understand the financial and social risk/return of new investment proposals being assessed. Improved market data will allow fund managers to independently benchmark their own performance and support raising more suitably priced wholesale capital.

Thom Kenrick, Head of Community Programmes at RBS, said: “RBS has been a leading supporter of social finance for 20 years, and backed the EngagedX idea for a social investment index from concept. We are delighted to see the results of this pilot.  We hope to see the pilot develop into a more complete data set, capturing more of the market, and would encourage social investors to come forward and support EngagedX.”

Matt Robinson on behalf of the Social Investment Research Council, said: “We welcome the findings of the project as we are committed to improving the availability of data and information about social investment.  Comparable deal-level data is critical if confidence in social investment is to grow, and track records are to emerge. We hope this project helps to illustrate the value of comparable data, and also triggers further efforts to improve financial and social data on social investment deals”

To download a copy of the dataset and report, please visit http://data.gov.uk/dataset/engagedx-dataset1-sirc-performance-data-of-social-investment-released-for-first-time. A webinar to discuss how the data was collated will be held on 23rd June, 2015. Please email contact@engagedx.com to register your interest.

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