Great Humanitarian and Friend

A very dear friend of mine passed away this past weekend. Tessa Tennant has often been called the godmother of Sustainable Investing. She created so many organisations that helped build the infrastructure that we have now. Carbon Disclosure Project, UKSIF, Asian Social Responsible Investing, ICE (not Trump’s storm troopers) and countless others. She co-founded the UK’s first green investment fund in 1988, called the Merlin Ecology Fund. What were you doing in 1988?  Now everything seems so much easier with respect to Values Based Investing.

Most of us stood on her shoulders, at one time, to get to where we are now. People forget that. It is easy to ride the wave of money flows going into ESG and Impact Investing, occurring now. That was not the case in the 1980’s. We should never forget that. Tessa was the polite, civilised, passionate, determined, terrier that just would not let go once she got her teeth into something. I admired her immensely for that, because it was easy to give up as the forces against ESG and Impact were monumental.

My wife used to call Tessa an eco-warrior, but the way she pronounced it, it sounded like “eco-worrier”.  My family has known Tessa for a very long time, close to a quarter century. What I loved about Tessa is she knew how to laugh and have fun. She invited my son (Sam) and myself to her home (Glen House) near Edinburgh. It snowed the night, we arrived and the next day, she organized some make shift sleds (boxes, and garbage lids to slide down the hill. Sam and I loved it. Tessa loved to play games. She was great at scrabble, we never had a chance.

When she decided to quit her job and go to Asia to start the Asian Social Responsible Investing Association, I was happy that she had an important project. What most don’t know about Tessa, is that she is frugal (understatement). Lives simply and travels so light that she could fit her carry one in the back of the seat in front of her, where you normally can put your phone or papers. Never understood how she did that.  I visited her in Hong Kong at her “home” which was a shack on the rooftop of apartment. Few realise how simply she lived and how little she took for herself to achieve her goal of changing the mindset of the financial sector in Asia. Totally self-sacrificing.

In November of last year, she invited Rieki (my wife) and I, along with a few other friends to Glen House to be together. No agenda, just taking the time to be together and take the time for reflection. In contrast to most who respond when you say I am in town, “ok lets grab a quick coffee at Starbucks and walk for 5 minutes to catch up,” Tessa and Bill (her husband) created a welcoming environment for us to reflect, enjoy, chat, walk, eat, drink and just live in that moment together and be there for each other. From that weekend, the seeds were sown for TBLI Impact Retreat which we will hold at Glen House in Sept, this year. The response was so overwhelming, that we are sold out and plan to hold it regularly at Glen. At least, until Bill gets tired of my jokes.

Tessa was always a great guest, as she blended in, and participated fully. The laugh was infectious and she thoroughly enjoyed my Curb Your Enthusiasm, George Carlin humour. She kept prodding me to finish my book using all the funny stories and quotes, and I will. Most important. She made a lasting impression on me and everyone who took the time to know her. She was the ultimate mensch. A person of great honour and value, that left the world in a far better place than how she found it.

Tessa, I am sending you one of my best and warmest hugs. I will miss our chats and walks. I can promise you that the Retreats will continue and we are all in your debt. Many are cutting the ribbons for the photo ops, but it was you that dug the holes.

Your physical being is gone but your spirit will always be there and it will manifest itself often, when we least expect it. Keep laughing. Big hug.

Where have you been?

My apologies for such a long radio silence., TBLI has been on the road extensively this year, helping to build the infrastructure for TBLI (Triple Bottom Line Investing) in Asia. In addition, we have been expanding our outreach to Private Asset Owners (Single Family Offices, Multi Family Offices, and HNW). It has been quite a journey.

From January to May, I visited Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Bangkok, Dubai, Istanbul, Stockholm, Milan, Wiesbaden and then back to Shanghai. What was surprising was the hunger for information about ESG and Impact Investing. It was as if a paradigm shift had occurred among asset owners. They wanted to believe that Values Investing could work, but needed more convincing.  Most of the talk was dispelling the Myths that Impact was charity, money losing, philanthropy, no good management, etc. Those myths were easy to dispel. Almost as easy as dispelling the myths that all PE Funds and Hedge Funds achieve 30%+ year in year out. Or all fund managers always beat their benchmark.

Nearly all were keen to better understand what is Impact and how can they move large sums into investments that look at all risks and opportunities.

I always said TBLI was an overnight success after 20 years.

With that in mind, TBLI will be doing many more road shows, particularly in Asia to further help build the ESG and Impact eco system. If you would like to host a meeting with clients and staff, let us know and we will be happy to speak at your event.  Contact us 

Forbes Interview

Devin Thorpe of Forbes recently did an interview with me. Here it is. I hope you enjoy it.

TBLI CONFERENCE NORDIC 2018, Nasdaq, Stockholm Sweden Nov. 8-9

TBLI Conference Program is nearly finished. Hope you can join us. We anticipate a significantly larger turnout this year, from last year. The number of Early Bird Registrations is much higher. If you are planning on coming, the Early Bird Discount of SEK 2000, — ends May 31. So register soon. 

GDPR Private Policy

You’ve probably already seen quite a few emails about the GDPR. Europe’s landmark legislation on data protection.   We have updated our Privacy Policy  to comply with the new GDPR requirements. We kindly ask you to read them and get familiar with the updates.

TBLI Special Events

As part of our capacity building outreach on ESG and Impact Investing, TBLI will also be hosting small, intimate events as well as collaborating on larger events for Asset Owners. Asset Owners may attend all Conferences free of charge. Service providers may register to attend for a fee. Dinners and Retreats have a registration fee involved. If you would like to join one of these events, contact us.

Save the Dates:
• TBLI Inspiration Weekend Glen House Castle, near Edinburgh Sept. 21-24
• IMPACT INVESTING: EXPLORING THE PERSONAL JOURNEY  London, 18/9/2018, St. James Hotel Invitation only.
• TBLI Dinners Paris October 30.
• Family Office Event- San Francisco, 12-13th September 2018, The Cabernet Sauvignon Yacht, where 100+ N American Family Offices meet Invitation only.
• Family Office Event-London 9-10th October 2018, The Dorchester, where 140+ London based Family Offices gather Invitation only.
• Family Office Event-Zurich 13-14 November, 2018,  Dolder Grand Hotel, The meeting place for 100+ genuine* Family Offices from all over the world  Invitation only.
• Family Office Event-Dubai, 5-6 February, 2019, Palace Downtown Dubai Invitation only.
• Family Office Event-Singapore 5 – 6 March 2019 The Fullerton: The Asian Forum for 100+ genuine* Family Offices and UHNWI  Invitation only.

TBLI Goes on the Road to China

China Road Show

I will be doing a China Road show to speak about Value(s) Investing in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing. Hope you can join us if you are in the area. Thank you to the organisers, particularly Peiyuan Guo of Syntao, for their kind invitation.

No Budget-New Year Resolution

No Budget

A great New Year Resolution would be a solution to the cryptic answer given by companies. “Sorry, we would love to support what you are doing, but we have no budget.” What does that mean? How does someone create a budget? Where do budgets come from? Not complex. You fight for it. Unfortunately, with all the downsizing going on, especially in the financial sector, most staff don’t want to increase their profile by demanding more money, so they might be more effective at their job. The last thing most employees for large financial institution want is to draw too much attention to themselves, so most don’t fight for anything, fearing being let go with the next downsizing. The strategy becomes,  keep your head down and don’t draw too much attention to yourself.

My question is “how is that strategy working out for the employer and employee?”. Are you selling more, getting more clients, inspiring staff, or is everyone in defensive, survival mode. That approach will not bring out greatness of staff. Don’t be  afraid to fight for the tools you need to do your job or for things that should be done. Otherwise you are just coasting through and trying to achieve the minimum and not attracting too much attention to yourself. This strategy won’t help you or your company. “No budget” means you are not willing to ask or work for achieving that budget. You might surprise yourself by going for it. Perhaps you will learn that you are in the wrong place, or your superiors will be impressed with your initiative. Either way you win. Believe me.

Tribute Robert Rubinstein

Several of you asked me to repost this. During the last TBLI Conference in Stockholm, last week, my wife, Rieki Crins, gave me a beautiful surprise. In secret, which is not easy, she had been colleting testimonials from various friends and thought leaders. I was totally surprised and overwhelmed with such a beautiful gesture. Thank you to all who participated.

For those interested, you can find the book here. We have received several more testimonials since publishing the book, so we will update it. If you would like to add one to the book, send via this mail