Rekha Unnithan leads Nuveen’s impact investing team which oversees nearly $1 billion in assets.
Unnithan says her investments include affordable housing, microfinance, and investing in technology to lower the cost of remittance for migrant populations.
She says the biggest misconception about impact investing is that it means giving up returns.

Sara Silverstein: I am here with Rekha Unnithan, the impact investing portfolio manager for Nuveen. So you manage a nearly billion dollar portfolio focused on impact investing. What exactly is impact investing, and how does it differ from socially responsible investing?

Rekha Unnithan: So impact investing is one facet of the socially responsible investing spectrum, if you will. Impact investors are looking for intentional outcome orientation with respect to the investments they choose to make. It’s providing a certain good or service to a part of the population that may be largely underserved. It may be innovation using technology. It may be looking at themes like climate change and energy efficiency to create a product or services that doesn’t exist today or needs to be improved upon.

Silverstein: So can you give me some examples of the types of deals that you’re looking at for your portfolio?

Unnithan: Yeah, I can give you two examples that make up a big part of our portfolio strategy. In the United States, affordable housing is a big area of focus for us, and really it’s preserving existing affordable housing stock. One in four households in the US does not have access to affordable housing, i.e., they’re paying more than 30% of their income on rents. Which basically means they’re spending less on other important things like education, health, access to good and healthy food. And so affordable housing preservation is taking existing affordable housing stock and keeping it affordable for the long term, making …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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