The winning proposal, the ASEAN Storm Resilience Fund, will help communities in Southeast Asia prepare for extreme weather events in the region.
The winning proposal at the 8th Annual Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge was the ASEAN Storm Resilience Fund.
The annual Challenge, presented by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Sustainable Investing, invites teams of graduate students to address critical social and environmental challenges which also have the potential to achieve market-rate financial returns.
The winning proposal from the three-member ASEAN Storm Resilience Fund team outlined the creation of a fund which will help communities withstand extreme weather events in Southeast Asia. A key aspect of the fund is its development impact bond enhancement feature which will facilitate investment in storm resistant structures.
The three students from Lee Kong Chian School of Business, Singapore Management University beat 11 other finalists in what the judges considered to be one of the most competitive yet in the Challenge’s eight-year history. A total of 307 students from 65 schools submitted investment prospectuses targeting solutions in 34 countries.
“The finalist proposals were very strong, and it was extremely tough to pick a winner,” said Ian Simm, Founder and Chief Executive of Impax Asset Management. “We chose ASEAN Storm Resilience Fund because we found their proposal to be especially clear. They have created an approach to solving a very serious problem in a way that we believe can flex with changing conditions and is set up for success.”
Another Challenge judge, Audrey Choi, Morgan Stanley’s Chief Sustainability Officer and CEO of the Institute for Sustainable Investing, also commented on the strength of the teams. “These proposals from students around the world demonstrate a breathtakingly bold ambition to tackle the toughest challenges we face as a global society. That passion is combined with an impressive level of sophistication about how private capital can help create positive change in the world alongside potentially attractive financial returns. We believe these students represent the future of finance.”
The Challenge also echoes the groundswell of sustainable investing assets under management. This growth is driving innovation in the bond markets, and spurring graduate students to fill that demand with more investment-ready sustainable investing products.
ASEAN is looking forward to discussing their winning proposal with the Singaporean government.