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Inflection Point Capital Management in the news


Sharing the wealth with the Inflection Points newsletter

Inflection Points, IPCM’s regular commentary on sustainability trends and issues which we believe to be germane and of interest to long-term investors, is now available as a PDF download. Visit the Inflection Points overview page to see all issues.

Dinner with ideas at the heart of the UN COP21 process

Paris, 8 December 2015: Forty-plus investors, financiers, and policy specialists met at the Hôtel Le Meurice to discuss what a UN agreement in Paris might do for global capital markets and major asset owners — and vice-versa.

The Groupe La Francaise-Inflection Point Capital Management dinner was the culmination of a fifteen-month global conversation to bring together major players to discuss and debate the evolving low carbon investment theme. From its initiation in Tokyo in September 2014, and then through nine similar dinners and events during 2014-15 in Paris, Davos, Tokyo, London, Paris, Stockholm, London, Geneva, and Paris, the GLF-IPCM COP21 series saw 175 globally significant investment institutions, policy specialists and academics discuss how to mobilize capital for a sustainable, low carbon world.

In the immediate run up to the Paris dinner, both the GLF and IPCM teams had been promoting ideas that sat at the very heart of the UN COP21 process:

  • Groupe La Francaise Chairman Xavier Lepine published a thought piece (download PDF) promoting the idea of an Externalities Stability Board, of which a Carbon Stability Board would be a critical component.
  • IPCM Partner, and Founder/CEO of The Blended Capital Group, Paul Clements-Hunt, worked with the Executive Office of the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, to conceive and launch the “Bangkok-Johannesburg-Blueprint” (see PDF) during Cities Day (8 December) at COP21. The Blueprint is a set of recommendations to mobilize capital at scale into climate-smart urban infrastructure.
  • IPCM Managing Director Gordon Noble moderated and managed the Bangkok “Blueprint” event and authored a 12-page thought piece to assist the UNSG’s Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance in planning the road ahead after COP21.

Taking our planet back from the precipice

New Zealand, 18 November 2015: As the world prepared to gather in Paris for COP21, IPCM Chief Executive Matthew Kiernan addressed the Responsible Investment Association Australasia conference in Auckland, NZ, reflecting on the highs and lows of the journey from the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio. What can we expect from COP21? And what actions do investors need to take in order to “future-proof” their portfolios to the maximum extent possible?

See the full text of Dr Kiernan's address

Inclusive Capitalism

IPCM Director Donald MacDonald and Chief Executive Matthew Kiernan were among the contributors to a new book on inclusive capitalism which was published in September. The book, Inclusive Capitalism: the Pathway to Action, also includes contributions from former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, philanthropist and industrialist Carlos Slim, McKinsey head Dominic Barton, Financial Times editor Lionel Barber, as well as the heads of major sovereign wealth funds and pension funds. The book accompanied a major conference on the same topic, co-organized by the City of London and Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild.

See more about the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism

IPCM and Groupe La Française sign Japan's Stewardship Code

4 February 2015: Groupe La Française and Inflection Point Capital Management today commit as the latest international signatories to Japan’s Stewardship Code.

The 7-point Code, capturing a set of Principles detailing sound approaches to responsible investment, was developed by a Japanese Government convened Expert Committee during 2013-2014 and was launched in February 2014.

“The Stewardship Code highlights remarkable vision by the Japanese Government to pro-actively promote good governance, along with world class environmental and social practices, as a route to greater Japanese corporate success in a highly competitive global economy," said Matthew Kiernan, Founder and Chief Executive of IPCM. “IPCM is delighted to become a signatory to the Code today.”

See more and full details of IPCM's commitment to Japan's Stewardship Code

A wake-up call to climate-aware investors

Paris, 5 December 2014: IPCM Chief Executive Matthew Kiernan and Laurent Jacquier-Laforge, the Chief Investment Officer of sister company La Francaise Inflection Point (LFIP), made a joint presentation to the annual colloquium organized by leading French NGO Novethic. The theme of their presentation was the urgent need for climate-aware investors to look for more positive and compelling alternatives to both divestment and passive, “low carbon” indexes. They foreshadowed the launch by IPCM/LFIP in Q1 2015 of an active strategy designed to achieve four objectives simultaneously:

  • Out-perform both traditional and low-carbon passive indexes
  • Create a positive “climate dividend” by seeking out and investing in emerging solution providers
  • Remaining actively engaged with portfolio companies
  • Demonstrating not merely fiduciary responsibility, but fiduciary leadership

The presentation was extremely well received by an audience of leading European asset owners, including FRR, ERAPF, CDC, and Sweden’s AP4.

Kiernan urges Strategically Aware Investing at RI Europe 2014 conference

4-5 June 2014: Speaking in a plenary session at the Responsible Investor Europe 2014 conference in London, IPCM Chief Executive Dr Matthew Kiernan threw out 3 major challenges to the audience:

1. To restore the investment “food chain” to the configuration which it should have had all along: with the asset owners at the top, and the service providers — well, providing services to them.

2. For the trustees and senior executives working for those asset owners to have the courage to innovate and experiment with new approaches, despite the sometimes overwhelming pressures to follow the crowd.

3. For asset owners to practice more “strategically aware investing” — investing with systematic attention to the emerging risk and return drivers which, almost by definition, cannot be detected by focusing on historical track records and proof statements.

Download a copy of the RI Europe 2014 report here

La Française and Inflection Point announce a major joint venture: La Française Inflection Point

3 December 2013: Investment Europe reports that Paris-based La Française and Inflection Point Capital Management (IPCM) have announced plans for a major joint venture to be named La Française Inflection Point. Read the full story

Opalesque: Auriel Capital partners with Inflection Point to enhance sustainable investment offering

10 September 2012: Opalesque, publisher of Alternative Market Briefing,  reports on the new partnership between Auriel Capital Limited and Inflection Point Capital Management to create a new joint venture, Inflection Point Partners LLP (IPP). The new joint venture delivers an absolute return overlay strategy for European equities which integrates traditional financial research together with sustainability analysis.

Read the full article at Opalesque.com

Environmental Finance: Kiernan hires Clements-Hunt to push sustainability fund

8 August 2012: Environmental Finance magazine reports that sustainable investment pioneer Matthew Kiernan has teamed up with Paul Clements-Hunt, former head of the UN Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative. 

IPCM is now opening its sustainable equities fund to outside investment after outperforming its benchmark by 500 basis points in its first year. The fund invests in large companies worldwide and has a "modest tilt" toward assets in emerging market.

Clements-Hunt joins IPCM as a global advisor, contributing as much to the strategic direction of the fund as raising money. “He has made more of a contribution to this field than almost anyone I can think of,” Kiernan said.

Subscribers to Environmental Finance can read the article here

A plea for innovation in asset management

5 December 2011: The good folks from Occupy Wall Street/St Paul’s/the City have rightly drawn the world’s attention to many of the worst ills of contemporary capitalism, writes Inflection Point Capital Management founder and chief executive Dr Matthew Kiernan in FTfm, the Financial Times funds management supplement, but they have not yet mentioned one which we consider to be equally pernicious: the financial system’s almost pathological abhorrence of innovation. All over the world, asset owners and their investment managers are failing to demonstrate the level of innovative thinking – and action – commensurate with the gravity of the current global economic, environmental, and social conditions.

Read the article at FT.com or in our Thought Leadership section

Five questions about SRI

20 May 2011: Dr Matthew Kiernan is the subject of this week's expert interview at www.emergingmarketsesg.net. “Today, we are seeing the beginnings of a convergence between what were previously two distinct investment philosophies and styles,” says Dr Kiernan. “Mainstream investors are coming to accept that environmental and social factors can indeed affect companies competitiveness and financial performance quite directly.” 

Visit www.emergingmarketsesg.net to see the full interview 

Kiernan in China: “Financial resources we can only dream about, and an impressive understanding of the challenges”

26 April 2011: Inflection Point CEO Matthew Kiernan travelled to Beijing to address a joint session of China’s top banking regulator (the Chinese Banking Regulatory Commission) and the UN Environment Program’s Finance Initiative. This was his second visit to the Chinese capital in the last few months. While in Beijing, he also took the opportunity to meet privately with senior officials of China’s sovereign wealth fund as well as leading bankers and investors.

“My colleagues at IPCM and I are enormously excited about the opportunities in China for us to contribute towards generating not only superior financial returns for our investors, but significant environmental and social dividends for the Chinese people as well,” said Dr Kiernan. “In approaching the challenges of sustainable development, it is well known that senior Chinese policymakers have financial resources which we in the West can only dream about. What is perhaps less well known but arguably even more important, however, is that they also have an impressively sophisticated  and comprehensive understanding of  the challenges which confront them,  and a clear determination to use their resources aggressively to tackle them. One cannot help but be overwhelmingly impressed.”

Chinese readers can download a version of Inflection Point's prospectus and a translated article about Matthew Kiernan from Environmental Finance magazine.

Sustainability-enhanced investing: “A field bedevilled by acronyms and confusion”

31 March 2011: Interviewed on BNN Business Day, Inflection Point's Matthew Kiernan speaks about the distinctions between sustainable, strategically aware investing and other investment styles with which it is routinely confused. Watch the video

Agility, innovation and crisis management: Looking beyond ESG

Amsterdam, 10 March 2011: Inflection Point Managing Director Andrew White was a panellist at the Institutional Investor-hosted Rights and Responsibilities conference held in Amsterdam. Now in its sixth year, The Rights & Responsibilities of Institutional Investors provides an insightful examination of the key issues confronting investors. This year’s program offered an objective analysis of these issues and was aimed at providing information fiduciaries need to meet those challenges, including how they can maximize recovery when losses do occur. Compliance and legal officers and other decision-makers from European public pension and insurance funds and mutual fund companies shared information on how to best protect assets through responsible fiduciary practices.

Keynote speaker was Sir Richard Branson, Founder and President of the Virgin Group, who stressed the importance of innovative human capital management and organisational structures as being key to his company’s on-going success. Other speakers came from AXA Investment Managers, APG, PGGM Investments, Robeco, KLP and Nordea.

IPCM was asked to comment on the Current and Future State of Socially Responsible Investing. Mr White’s comments focused on: the need to look “beyond ESG” and consider company agility, innovation, crisis management, using BP and Toyota case studies to support his arguments; the role of impact investing and possibilities to take this further, through the use of a portfolio dividend concept; and the challenge of understanding materiality and timing in the use of non-traditional KPIs, particularly in relation to emerging ‘mega trends’ such as resource depletion, and development of “long/short” investment strategies.

IPCM at the Super Bowl

Phoenix, 6 December 2010: Inflection Point's Matthew Kiernan was a panelist at the IMN Super Bowl of Indexing® conference attended by some 700 U.S. and international institutional, foundation, and endowment investors.

Speaking on the theme “Responsible investing using ESG: Maximizing financial and social returns”, Dr Kiernan argued that strategic investment is all about creating and capitalizing on an information advantage to generate superior risk-adjusted performance.

Cancún’s “brontosaurus in the living room”

London, 5 December 2010: The latest round of international climate negotiations taking place this week in Cancún, Mexico is the 16th such gabfest designed to breathe life into the Kyoto Protocol. One does not need to be an unreconstructed cynic, writes Matthew Kiernan in today’s Financial Times, to ask how much real progress has been made during those 16 meetings.

See the full article in our Thought Leadership section or at FT.com

IPCM at the “Davos of Asia”

Beijing, 8-10 November 2010:  Matthew Kiernan was an invited speaker at the International Finance Forum in Beijing. The IFF is a Chinese-initiated, high-level forum designed to discuss, debate, and generate solutions to a number of pressing challenges in the current global economy. Sometimes referred to as “the Davos of Asia”, the event took place immediately prior to the G20 meeting in Seoul, Korea.

Other speakers included Paul Volcker, former Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank; former New Zealand Prime Minister Dame Jenny Shipley; Dai Xianglong, former Governor of the Bank of China and Chairman of the Chinese National Social Security Fund; Cheng Siwei and Li Guixian, both Vice-Chairmen of the 10th Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of the PRC, and other senior finance figures from China and elsewhere.

Dr Kiernan’s remarks focused on the significant opportunities which the PRC has to “leapfrog” the West in achieving a more sustainable trajectory of finance and investment. He also noted the considerable advantages allowing them to  do so, including the Chinese “state capitalist” economic model  itself, and its emphasis on achieving a “harmonious society”, the greater apparent understanding of global sustainability challenges among senior Chinese policy-makers, and the greater freedom which they have to act quickly and effectively.

Sustainable Investment: Not so much an asset class, more an investment discipline

London, 11-12 November 2010: Andy White presented at the annual Triple Bottom Line Investing Conference, one of the most important and best attended sustainable finance conferences in the world.

Speaking on “New Frontiers for Sustainable Investment”, he emphasized that sustainable investment was not, as it is often taken to be, a discrete asset class that merits perhaps a 10% allocation out of investors’ overall global equity investments. Rather, SI should properly be regarded as an over-arching investment philosophy and discipline, and its insights should therefore be integrated across the fullest range of asset classes and opportunities for which sophisticated sustainability research can be found. Ideally, this means that 100% of investors’ portfolios should benefit from the alpha generation and risk reduction potential inherent in sustainability-driven approaches.

Mr White also noted the growing investor interest in specific sustainability “theme” strategies designed to capture the return premiums available to companies with a superior ability to both recognize emerging sustainability trends and to act on them. 

Taking on the elephant in the room

Sydney, 14-15 September 2010: Matthew Kiernan was keynote speaker at the RIAA’s 7th International Responsible Investment Conference.

What the world needs now is... another acronym!

3 August 2010: Everyone seems to be clamouring for more “mainstreaming” but the terminology is holding us back, argues Matthew Kiernan in an article published in Responsible Investor.

Sustainable investment: the business case

Stockholm, 10 June 2010: IPCM Managing Director of Research Andy White presented the 9th Annual European Summit on Corporate Governance and Responsible Investment with a number of key business case arguments for the growing importance of sustainable investing.

The event was attended by over 100 delegates from the region, including representatives of pensions funds, asset managers, research providers and governmental agencies. Andy was a member of a panel which discussed the relevance of sustainable investment to mainstream and responsible investors. Other panelists included Hermes Equity Ownership Services and the FairPensions organisation.

Andy’s talk was illustrated with several case studies compiled by the IPCM research team, a repertoire which includes a number of “good calls” on companies such as Bear Stearns, BP and Maple Leaf. There was much interest in IPCM’s work on compiling the Global 100 list of the top sustainable performers — which has a five-year track record of beating its benchmark — as well as more recent analysis on access to medicine as a value driver in the pharmaceutical sector. 

Access to medicine in particular struck a chord with the Scandinavian delegates, who liked the idea that delivery of essential drugs in emerging markets represented both a responsible investor pathway and could deliver excess returns.

Kiernan in Reuters Q&A videos: “Institutional investors are the slowest to wake up to the need for sustainability”

Toronto, 3 June 2010: Reuters Environment Forum caught up with IPCM’s Matthew Kiernan at the Green Employers 2010 Conference and asked about environmental concerns, sustainable investment and the potential impact of the climate bill currently under consideration by the US Senate.

IPCM’s Matthew Kiernan at the GRI Conference: “Rethink. Rebuild. Report.”

Dr Matthew Kiernan was a plenary panelist at the 2010 Amsterdam Global Conference on Sustainability and Transparency. 

Attendance, public interest and media coverage at this third GRI Conference reflected the growing movement behind sustainability reporting and the ever-increasing interest and support among different stakeholder groups around the world. 

“All large and medium-sized companies should publicly report on their material environmental, social, and governance performance issues by 2015 – or explain why, if they don’t,” said GRI Chief Executive Ernst Ligteringen in his opening speech. He added that by 2020 we should have a widely accepted standard for integrated financial and ESG reporting. 

It was overwhelmingly clear at the Conference that investors are becoming increasingly convinced of the need to integrate sustainability risks and opportunities into their investment strategies, but need improved company disclosure and robust analysis in order to do so. IPCM is, of course, strongly supportive of both of these objectives, and indeed is actively engaged in each.

Visit the Conference site for more information

Inflection Point’s soft launch attracts media coverage

With the informal announcement of Inflection Point Capital Management at this year's World Economic Forum, articles in the Financial Times, Environmental Finance and elsewhere focus on the firm’s investment strategy and CEO Matthew Kiernan’s switch from research advisor to hands-on fund manager.

IPCM at Davos

Our exclusive, invitation-only investor forum focused on sustainability issues recently met again at the World Economic Forum.
Read more about the Club of Davos

The smart money is going green

Matthew Kiernan’s Investing in a Sustainable World offers clear proof that “going green” leads directly to better stock market performance, and that investors and companies who ignore it will be losing money. Revolutionary and backed by undeniable statistics, the book reveals the most powerful global megatrends which are transforming the basis on which companies compete, and offers an approach to sustainability-enhanced investing beneficial to both investors and companies.

Video: Wall Street Journal interview with Matthew Kiernan

Download PDF flyer

Available at your favorite bookstore and online retailer, or at www.amanet.org/books/intrnatl.htm

In the USA, contact 1-800-250-5308 / SpecSlsWeb@amanet.org
In Canada, contact 1-800-663-5714 / customerservice@raincoast.com

Explaining “the glacial pace of change in the investment community.”

Conventional investment “wisdom” has long held that companies’ performance on environmental and social (ES) issues is either immaterial or even harmful to the financial performance of both companies and their investors, writes Inflection Point CEO Dr Matthew Kiernan in UNEP Finance Initiative's 0.618 newsletter, October 2009.
Download the article in PDF

Digging beneath the surface

Financial data are important, but most of a company’s true risk profile and value potential lurk beneath the surface. That’s where we focus, Matthew Kiernan tells Wealth Management magazine. While we use tools that are similar to those of traditional research departments, we focus them on different criteria. In the case of climate change, we have built up our expertise over seven to eight years while mainstream analysts have been looking at the issue for just one or two years.
Download the article in PDF