Shaper: Rodney Schwartz

Rodney Schwartz

Rodney Schwartz’s background in equities, financial research, investment banking and venture capital makes him an unconventional but authoritative champion for impact investment. He holds an MBA and BA from the University of Rochester. Rod joined Wall Street in 1980, he rose to become the number one ranked financial services analyst at PaineWebber and then held senior management posts at Lehman Brothers and Paribas, before leaving the sector in 1997 to found the venture capital firm Catalyst. At Catalyst, Rod became passionate about innovative businesses that earn a living by trying to make the world a better place. He transformed Catalyst into a social business consultancy and in 2008 launched ClearlySo, a business designed, “to help create 100 Justgivings”. The firm raises investment for high-impact businesses, charities and funds. Today, ClearlySo is Europe’s leading impact investment bank and has helped more than 130 clients raise more than £230 million in investment capital by leveraging its extensive network of high-net-worth individual and institutional investors. Rod teaches impact investing at the Said Business School in Oxford and the ESMT in Berlin.

Follow Rodney on Twitter @RodneySchwartz.

“We only work with clients that generate significant social, ethical or environmental impact.”

“Consumers are paying and pursuing to demonstrate their preferences for products that have ethical dimensions; that is changing consumer markets, changing financial markets; that’s the third dimension.”

“Impact is about measuring the positive and negatives – think of Fairtrade food – if you buy it if it aligns with your ethics.”

“This sense of an obligation to do something else but also make money has been with me – it took me a long time to find the courage to pursue this as my profession.”

“I’m sure I have been shaped by my history. Both of my parents are Jewish holocaust survivors, so I think I could have survivor’s guilt. I have a need to do something positive in the world.”

“I think we should be encouraging investing with impact. If we’re going to have any positive difference in our society it’s going to have to start with individuals acting with impact in mind, rather than politicians with different motivations.”