Impax Asset Management is a leading investment manager dedicated to investing in the opportunities created by the scarcity of natural resources and the growing demand for cleaner, more efficient products and services, through both listed and private equity strategies.
As part of our latest Member Series, we spoke to Adrian Missen, Country Head at Impax to learn a little more about the company. Adrian discussed how the economy is changing and shifting towards a more environmentally focused future and where Impax fits in. Adrian also discussed why he and his team chose Iconic as their workspace. Impax are based at The Lennox Building on Richmond Street, Dublin City. The Lennox is one of our most luxurious office space which Adrian felt was the ideal fit for him and his team.
Tell us a little about Impax Asset Management?
Founded in 1998, Impax Asset Management has pioneered investment in the transition to a more sustainable global economy and today is one of the largest investment managers dedicated to this area. Impax offers a suite of investment solutions spanning multiple asset classes seeking superior risk-adjusted returns over the medium to long term. Impax has around 200 employees across six offices in the United Kingdom, the United States, Ireland and Hong Kong, and has more than €41bn in assets under management.
Why do you believe investment is so important in the conversation around climate change?
The long-term drivers of the transition to a more sustainable global economy, namely expanding global population, rising living standards, natural resource constraints and climate change continue to underpin our investment approach. Climate change is likely to be one of the most serious risks to the long-term value of investment portfolios. The warmest years on record have all occurred in this decade and the oceans are warming at an alarming rate and just in the last few months we have witnessed severe weather events around the world.
The demand for products and services that are providing solutions to the challenges of climate change, pollution and public health issues is growing rapidly. We strongly believe that the private sector holds the key to decarbonising the economy over the next quarter century. Ahead of the COP26 conference in Glasgow later this year, governments are likely to continue to set or raise national targets for decarbonising their economies. In response, the private sector will mobilise to serve rapidly expanding markets.
Can you tell us about some of your sustainability projects?
Since our foundation in 1998, Impax has been intentionally directing funds towards areas of the market that are providing solutions to sustainability challenges, demonstrating that these can be sound investments and thereby lowering the cost of capital for companies delivering a positive impact through their environmental products and services.
Every strategy at Impax is designed to intentionally allocate clients’ capital towards those companies we expect to flourish as the global economy transitions to a more sustainable model, and to reduce or eliminate exposure to potential losers from that transition. We measure the quantified environmental benefits linked to our clients’ investments in our portfolio companies through our annual Impact Report, which discloses carbon emissions avoided, renewable energy generated, water treated, saved or provided, materials recovered, and waste treated among other measures.
The Company’s expertise has been acknowledged through numerous prestigious industry awards including recently receiving the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Sustainable Development category for a second time.
Before working at Impax, what did you do?
I began my career in a firm in a similar area to Impax, KBC Asset Management (now called KBIGI), which is an Irish-based investment manager that also specialise in managing and marketing environmentally focused investment strategies for institutional clients. I worked in Dublin and New York and dealt with a wide variety of clients that also recognised the importance and benefits of allocating the capital they were responsible for to sectors of the market that were focused on tackling important environmental and climate-related problems. Between KBC and Impax, I worked for BCP Asset Management in Dublin as Head of Client Development and Director of the regulated fund services arm of the business.
Is it important to you that you work for a sustainable company?
Yes, as mentioned above I began my career in the early 2000s focusing on sustainable investment strategies, so I have been actively involved and interested in this area long before it became the mainstream concept it is today. Sustainability is a wide label and means different things to different people but at its core it’s about people and businesses taking responsibility for their actions and taking better care of the resources we have access to and the environment that we live and work in. I think people in general are much more aware of the impact a non-sustainable approach has had on our planet and our daily lives and are more willing to embrace new ideas and approaches. Employers and employees are much more engaged in sustainability issues and that accountability is a big step to making fundamental long-term changes.
How large is the team at Impax?
We have a team of 7 people in Ireland but we are fully integrated with the Impax group which has over 200 employees in the UK, the US and Hong Kong. The Irish team’s first hire was in January 2021 and we hope to grow this presence over time.
What was it about The Lennox Building that felt like the right fit for you and your team?
We looked at a number of serviced office options around Dublin before deciding on the Lennox and it was combination of factors that convinced us in the end. The feature that stood out for us was firstly the design and atmosphere of the building. It’s professional and modern but also offers a combination of privacy and communality that we hadn’t seen elsewhere. Obviously, the location is excellent with access to the city, the Luas, bus lines and the canal but we needed more than just a good location or a good view. This is an accessible and well-planned office environment and perfectly met with our requirements.
What made you choose a flexible workspace over a traditional office?
We are a small but growing team so our decision was influenced by a need for flexibility for us to take on more space as we need it over the next couple of years and also a desire to have some of the logistical aspects of office management taken care of on our behalf. The flexibility around lease term, potential office re-location within the building and the use of other Iconic locations in Dublin was a big draw too.
What do you find is the greatest benefit of working at The Lennox Building?
Aside from the features listed above that led us to decide on the Lennox, I think the greatest benefit is the relationship we have with the Iconic team. They were excellent from the day we met them to tour the building, through to contract negotiation and ultimately moving in.
Has business been affected by the pandemic?
Impax has remained fully operational since the start of the pandemic. We have focused on protecting the health and safety of our colleagues, whilst continuing to provide a seamless service to clients and fulfilling obligations to our shareholders and other stakeholders. We have sustained strong investment performance while we have also been able to expand our operations and team in line with the needs of the business.
What’s next for Impax Asset Management?
This year the effects of COVID-19 have amplified many of the issues associated with investing in the transition to a more sustainable economy, but recent events have also reinforced our investment case. We believe – and certainly strongly hope – that 2022 will represent something of a return to normality after a profoundly abnormal past few years. However, that normality involves the acceleration of the climate crisis, the continuing over-exploitation of natural resources and unsustainable social challenges.
Addressing these issues will continue to create enormous economic opportunities for the right companies. There are strong reasons to believe that governments, investors and consumers are seeking to steer capital towards markets that offer inherent resilience to environmental and social problems.
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