The University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Graduate School of Business (GSB) has launched the first impact investment course for lawyers in South Africa, with the aim of increasing knowledge and promoting opportunities in the field of impact investment.
The Legal Practice for Impact Investing course is designed for companies, investors and legal practitioners concerned with making the world safer, more sustainable and more equitable through impact investment. The course is being convened by the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship and marks the first time a course of this kind will be offered in the country.
“Impact investment is growing at a rapid pace, both globally and in South Africa, and as more international funding becomes available with demands for better social and environmental as well as financial returns, there will be a need for legal expertise to craft the kind of agreements and deals that will ensure these outcomes are realised,” said course convener, Dr Susan de Witt.
Drafting agreements and making deals in the field of impact investment is slightly different from traditional investment agreements and is the responsibility of lawyers, fund managers, bankers and asset consultants, among others. They need to determine not only financial returns, but also take into account and measure any social and environmental impact.
This requires a very specific skill set that professionals around the world need to learn, practise and improve on to ensure that as much investment is made as efficiently and effectively as possible.
A blend of theory and practice
The GSB’s two-day course, to be held in both Cape Town and Johannesburg, will teach participants what it takes to put together an impact investment deal from start to finish – from setting up an organisation to exiting the investment. Simulation test cases will look at building investment-ready social enterprises, conducting legal due diligence, building aggregated capital vehicles, managing the investment once it has been made and making a responsible exit.
Participants will be exposed to a broad range of impact-investing vehicles and gain insights into the practical issues that come about when making and living with an impact investment. Case study-based workshops will be led by a diverse group of leading experts in the field, both locally and internationally.
Professor Deborah Burand from the Grunin Centre for Law and Social Entrepreneurship at New York University, one of the best law schools in the world, is one such industry leader who will share her expertise. She will provide insights into relevant cross-border and impact investing deals in emerging markets – such as direct investments into profit-with-purpose businesses, blended capital investments into infrastructure projects, and social impact bonds.
Major investment in impact
The Global Steering Group for Impact Investing predicts that $3 trillion will be invested globally in high impact assets by 2030. According to the recently published African Investing for Impact Barometer, almost $30 billion in financial assets on the continent is invested in impact, through nearly 60 South African fund managers.
“The tide is turning all over the world in terms of companies and individuals who demand healthy communities and a safer and cleaner world.”
“The tide is turning all over the world in terms of companies and individuals who demand healthy communities and a safer and cleaner world. Not only are consumer patterns changing, but also investment patterns are different. For instance, millennials, who stand to benefit from the largest ever intergenerational transfer of wealth, are most concerned about climate and inequality, and pension fund beneficiaries are forcing trustees to take sustainable long-term positions in companies,” said De Witt.
The course will be offered from 16 to 17 July in Cape Town and from 19 to 20 July in Johannesburg.
The closing date for applications is 29 June 2018.
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