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AVPN launches social investing system ImpactCollab with MAS support

Jovi Ho
Jovi Ho • 5 min read
AVPN launches social investing system ImpactCollab with MAS support
From left: Kevin Teo, chief operating officer of AVPN; Phyllis Costanza, co-founder and president of OutcomesX; and Naina Batra, chief executive officer of AVPN. Photo: AVPN
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AVPN, the largest network of social investors in Asia, has launched ImpactCollab, an outcomes-based social investing system, developed with support from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). 

Tailored for financial institutions, family offices, ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWI) and impact organisations across Asia, the system aims to facilitate philanthropic giving and impact investing. 

In its first phase, ImpactCollab’s “social outcomes platform” will provide a “neutral, unbiased way” to calculate the annual outcomes of what impact organisations do. According to AVPN, the platform will validate and evaluate social programmes by their cost per result and effectiveness. 

This will provide social investors access to “reliable, investor-grade impact data” to use in decision-making, says AVPN. “By creating a common language between capital funders and impact organisations to better align their goals and desired outcomes, this impact data registry strengthens trust and enables collaboration across the ecosystem.” 

Private bankers “don’t know how to find deals” in the social giving space, says Naina Batra, chief executive officer of AVPN. “So, this will provide an opportunity for them to actually find opportunities [in] organisations that have been [screened with] due diligence by us.”

See also: AVPN CEO hopes to welcome faith-based givers into social investing, philanthropy

The platform will first be available to family office advisers, wealth advisers and private bankers in Singapore, says Batra to The Edge Singapore. “We keep talking about this massive amount of wealth that is there in Singapore, but nobody really gets to the principals in the family offices, a lot of times it’s door-kept by financial advisers and private bankers.”

With ImpactCollab, AVPN hopes to unlock this capital by appealing to private bankers, “who can move from just being financial advisers to being trusted advisers” who offer support on philanthropy and social giving, she adds. 

Phase one: The platform 

See also: AVPN Global Conference debuts in Middle East with three-day social investing programme

AVPN launched the social outcomes system on April 24, the second day of its three-day AVPN Global Conference 2024 in Abu Dhabi. 

The launch marks the start of the three-year initiative. The full suite of the ImpactCollab system will include “cross-border capital deployment capabilities” and social investing that complies with cross-border regulatory and due diligence requirements. 

The social outcomes platform was built in partnership with OutcomesX, a social outcome exchange headquartered in New York.

In the coming years, the full system will offer the know-your-clients (KYC), know-your-business (KYB) and know-your-impact (KYI) due diligence resources required for facilitating cross-border philanthropic giving. 

ImpactCollab will progressively be made available for AVPN members, financial institutions, family offices and UHNWI in Asia — starting with those in Singapore. 

Kevin Teo, chief operating officer at AVPN, aims to standardise “data-driven, outcomes-based impact valuations” for up to 1,200 impact organisations, with the target spread across three years. AVPN expects to launch a beta version of the platform within six months to onboard impact organisations.

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On the other end, Teo believes the platform will engage its first “small set of users”, including relationship managers and advisers, within a year. 

To gather data, AVPN will tap into its 600-odd member community of funders to submit screening data on impact organisations. 

Teo is mindful that this method could surface top-heavy data, with less information available on smaller impact organisations. “Many of them tend to be hyper-local and non-English-speaking, so they don’t show up in a lot of searches.”

To avoid survivorship bias, Teo tells The Edge Singapore that his team will focus on collecting data on these smaller organisations in their conversations with AVPN members. 

Finally, users can expect to pay “some subscription costs” to use the system, says Teo, but talks about the pricing model are still ongoing. 

Asia’s philanthropy hub

The launch of ImpactCollab aligns with Singapore’s strategic goals to position itself as Asia’s centre for philanthropy, says AVPN. 

As the 2030 deadline for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) draws near, Asia faces an urgent need to bridge a US$1.5 trillion ($2.04 trillion) funding gap. “However, the majority of donated philanthropic funds only reach 5% of charities and impact organisations, signalling an urgent need for more efficient capital deployment,” says AVPN. 

The impact investing market alone is expected to grow to nearly US$1 trillion in 2027. While philanthropists are increasingly keen to contribute more intentionally and effectively, the existing due diligence process remains resource-intensive, says Teo.

Knowledge gaps and risk mitigation challenges in cross-border giving are some of the key obstacles for potential donors, Teo adds. “The first part is addressing fears. How do you manage fears? How do you manage risk perception as it relates to philanthropic contributions? Once you are past that hurdle, the second part is: ‘How do you maximise the impact of your capital?’”

ImpactCollab will facilitate “greater cross-border, evidence-based and innovative modes of philanthropic giving”, says MAS’s Gillian Tan, assistant managing director (development and international) and chief sustainability officer. 

Tan also mentions Singapore’s Philanthropy Tax Incentive Scheme for Family Offices, unveiled last year. The scheme, which will run till Dec 31, 2028, provides family offices a 100% tax deduction for overseas donations, capped at 40% of the donor’s statutory income, among other criteria. 

She adds: “Alongside efforts to deepen Singapore’s philanthropic advisory talent pool and the Philanthropy Tax Incentive Scheme, ImpactCollab will support the mobilisation of wealth as a force for good”. 

Photos: AVPN, The Edge Singapore

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