New Rating Tool Assesses Investment Funds’ Accountability to Claims of Impact

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Aeris issues its first impact management rating of a publicly-traded, fixed-income mutual fund.

Community Capital Management (CCM)'s CRA Qualified Investment Fund has become the first publicly-traded, fixed-income mutual fund to receive an impact management rating from Aeris, the rating and information service for impact investors. The rating was announced at the 2017 Social Capital Markets (SOCAP) Conference today.

While there already exist several indices that use publicly-available information to rank the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance of investment funds, Aeris’ rating is the first tool to help investors evaluate impact management—that is, how well a fund pursues and achieves its stated impact goals. While Aeris has been issuing impact management ratings for more than a decade on private, fixed-income funds in the community investing space, this is the first rating of a publicly-traded mutual fund.

“With a ballooning number of funds claiming to have positive environmental and social impacts, CCM was eager to participate in a third-party validation of our impact performance and metrics,” said David Sand, CCM’s Chief Impact Investment Strategist, who also serves as a member of the Aeris board of directors. “Social impact is core to our mission as our Aeris rating demonstrates and we are excited that the CRA Qualified Investment Fund is the first public mutual fund to receive an impact management rating.”

Aeris Impact Management Ratings assess the pursuit and achievement of impact goals as evidenced by strategies, use of investment capital, and how impact is measured and informs the refinement of those strategies. The Aeris methodology considers a fund’s impact investment model and objectives. The Aeris rating for CCM’s CRA Qualified Investment Fund indicates exceptional alignment of the fund’s impact value proposition, strategies, and supporting data that guide its investment program. Copies of the Aeris® Impact Management Rating Report of the CRA Qualified Investment Fund are available to the media by request at http://aerisinsight.com/subscribe.

“As the impact and ESG investment environments mature, it is critical that fund managers be held accountable for the non-financial returns they promise investors. Aeris has been analyzing and rating impact management since 2004. We hope to drive the same transparency and accountability into the mutual fund space as we have with private community investment funds,” said Paige Chapel, President & CEO of Aeris.

Following the successful demonstration that the Aeris methodology can be adapted to other investment models, Aeris is in discussions with several other fund managers about undergoing the Aeris impact management rating, and plans to issue additional ratings in 2018.

The experimental rating was supported by a grant from the Ford Foundation, in connection to the Foundation’s efforts to build and strengthen the infrastructure of the impact investment marketplace. This April, the Ford Foundation announced a commitment to direct up to $1 billion of its $12 billion endowment over the next 10 years to mission-related investments.

“Mission-related investments have the potential to deliver both strong financial returns and important social impacts,” said Graham Macmillan, Senior Program Officer, Inclusive Economies at the Ford Foundation. “We believe that evidence-based information on social returns and financial risk will be critical to attracting new sources of capital, and unleashing the power of the capital market to address society’s most intractable challenges.”

About Aeris

Aeris guides capital to good by working at the intersection of risk and impact to serve the impact investing field. Since 2004, Aeris’ due diligence and data have helped investors source, underwrite, and monitor investments that meet their risk parameters and impact goals. Aeris’ clients range from large financial institutions with Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) obligations, mission-driven charitable foundations, government, private wealth managers, and more. Learn more at http://www.aerisinsight.com.

About Community Capital Management (CCM)

Community Capital Management, Inc. is an investment adviser registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with offices in Charlotte, North Carolina and Boston, Massachusetts, the firm was founded in 1998 and manages $2.4 billion in assets (as of 6/30/17). Its mission is to deliver superior risk-adjusted returns through investment strategies that contribute to positive environmental and social outcomes. CCM’s flagship core fixed income impact investing strategy is available via a mutual fund (CRA Qualified Investment Fund) and/or a separately managed account. CCM also offers the strategy to banks for CRA investing and integrates impact investing analysis into its liquid alternative income strategy (CCM Alternative Income Fund) and within customized portfolios.

About Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 80 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Founded in 1936 by Edsel Ford, the, the foundation has through the years made more than $45 billion in grants and improved hundreds of millions of lives. Learn more about the current focus on addressing inequality in all its forms: http://www.fordfoundation.org

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Paige Chapel
Aeris
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