Yuni Choi of RS Group: The Role of Family Offices In Sustainable Investing

Aug 31, 11:00 AM
Yuni Choi focuses on the investment portfolio of RS Group. She has 14 years of investment experience across public and private equities and in multi-asset portfolio management. Before joining RS Group, Yuni was Vice President at TAU Investment, an impact-driven private equity firm investing in the apparel supply chain. 
Prior to TAU, she worked as a Senior Investment Analyst at Mirae Asset Global Investments, focusing on fundamental analysis and investment in Asian public equities. She is also an angel investor and has advised a dozen social entrepreneurs over five years. A native of South Korea, Yuni earned her MBA from Columbia Business School and also holds a BA in Business Administration from Yonsei University. She received her CFA charter in 2011.

  • The stages the RS Group - Single family office has gone through and the lessons learned 
  • Total Portfolio Investing and Bended Value
  • Investing in Sustainalytics in 2009 in order to support the mainstream ESG investing community
  • Focus on natural capital and nature based solutions and launching of a design funding window with Convergence Finance.
  • “Its really important to understand the team. We see a lot of ESG funds, with the bigger asset management firms they have very shiny presentations that are very well organised but in the end what gives us the real insights is talking to the managers and understanding how they implement the ESG framework. The magic is really getting to know them”
  • We believe closely monitoring and engaging managers is also our duty as a responsible investor.
  • “One of the fundamental challenges is that positive and negative externalities are not fully priced in. This means coal miners or harmful oil and gas exploration projects can still access funding at a rate not too different from green projects.”
  • When ecosystem services are properly valued, companies will not be able to justify damaging natural resources to increase their profit, such as producing palm oil from cleared lands or overfishing or use of unsustainable fishing methods.
  • “We sincerely hope that sustainable investing does not remain as one type of investing but becomes the only way of investing.”
  • Many investors still think that moving their capital to ESG ETFs is enough, but in our opinion, while ESG ETFs are better than traditional ETFs, they are not the best solutions. There is no active company engagement, no fundamental ESG research investors who need to understand ESG label itself is not enough. They need to move their capital into strategies that have a really robust ESG integration.
  • We want to see more asset managers, more banks actually investing in the ESG talents in the region.
Time Stamp:
[03:00] What is impact investing?
[06:00] What is RS Group 
[13:56] Examples of investments made
[19:15] Importance of meeting the team
[24:10] Investing in multi-asset classes
[33:50] Importance of engaging with fund managers
[34:00] Challenges of impact investing
[40:10] Every family office is different
[43:10] A particular challenge in the Asia region
[45:30] Yuni’s career path and mentors
[46:00] Working in an all women team
[49:30] What makes an impact leader?

Useful links:
Annie Chen
Annie Chen’s case study on the Coutts Bank philanthropy website
Jed Emerson
RS Group’s report
Mark Campanale’s podcast episode
Florian Kemmerich at Bamboo Capital podcast episode
Convergence - Blended finance think-tank in Canada
Sustainable Finance Initiative
Doug Duckjun Lee of D3 Jubilee

Bill Gates: “COVID-19 is awful. Climate change could be worse”.
But there are lessons from the current crisis that should guide our response to the next one:
1. Let science and innovation lead the way
2. Make sure solutions work for poor countries (too).
3. Start! Now!

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