Jeff Ubben tells the FT he is leaving ValueAct for social investing: ‘Finance is, like, done’

Finance

Jeffrey Ubben

Source: BusinessWire

ValueAct Capital’s Jeffrey Ubben has reportedly left the firm he founded in 2000 to focus on socially responsible investing full-time, a new report from the Financial Times said.

Ubben will launch a new fund called Inclusive Capital Partners, according to the Financial Times, where he’ll be joined by two former ValueAct colleagues as well as Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism CEO Forester de Rothschild.

The move is not completely out of left field since Ubben has managed the firm’s socially responsible fund, known as the ValueAct Spring Fund, since its launch in 2018. He will continue to oversee the fund as his new venture gets underway, the Financial Times reported.

When the fund launched, he noted that beyond social benefits, there are financial ones, too, from placing greater emphasis on how companies are adapting to the changing world around them.

“There is not just a societal good to be done, but excess return to be captured in identifying and investing in businesses that are emphasizing and addressing environmental and societal problems,” he wrote in a letter to his limited partners in 2018.

The move comes at a time when investors are increasingly focusing on ESG, or environmental, social and governance, factors. 

“Finance is, like, done. Everybody’s bought everybody else with low-cost debt. Everybody’s maximised their margin. They’ve bought all their shares back . . . There’s nothing there. Every industry has about three players. Elizabeth Warren is right,” Ubben told the Financial Times.

BP and Nikola Corp. are among the companies in which the ValueAct Spring Fund has invested. 

Ubben previously told CNBC that stocks like BP can belong in socially responsible portfolios since as an investor it’s possible to push for meaningful change. 

“They can be part of the solution. They can move to carbon capture, and hydrogen and other things with their capital spend to become a company of the future,” he said of BP in March. 

CNBC reached out to ValueAct for comment, but did not immediately hear back.

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