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Davos Forum

Inflection Point Capital holds an annual Davos Forum, an invitation-only investor forum focused on sustainability issues. Discussions between attendees are important sources of investment insights and information advantage for the firm.

In January 2016, Inflection Point Capital held its 10th annual Davos dinner The theme of the dinner was " Institutional Investors: the Power to Change the World ". Coming on the heels of COP 21 climate change summit in Paris, the dinner discussion reflected a much more optimistic ethos than that of the Forum overall.

There was a general consensus around several key points:

* Institutional asset owners ( such as pension funds, endowments and foundations, sovereign wealth funds, and insurance companies) have both the power and even the responsibility to invest in a way that leads (or pushes) major companies to address social, environmental, and governance issues more directly.

* The industrial transformation occurring through new technology, increased carbon regulation, and consumer power through social media, means that being a strategically aware investor can generate superior financial returns, as well as social and economic dividends.

* Significant barriers continue to retard the "mainstreaming" of sustainable investment. Investors need to have courage of their convictions and be prepared to step up and advocate reform.

* Recent global developments such as the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), with over $60 trillion in combined signatory assets, have provided a mechanism for global collaboration and represent very real movement and momentum.

Our eighth annual Davos dinner, co-hosted with IPCM’s new, Paris-headquartered joint venture partner, La Française de l'Investissement, and The Blended Capital Group, was held on 23 January 2014. It focused on one of the great strategic investment themes of coming decades: “Africa: Building a 21st Century Infrastructure”.

The dinner discussion was led by former UK Prime Minister (and global financial architect) Gordon Brown, a long-time and effective advocate for dramatically increased investment in Africa’s “soft” infrastructure, most notably education, training, and health. It is IPCM’s considered view, as strategically-aware investors, that Africa represents the single biggest strategic opportunity for the next quarter-century, and that the key to unlocking its enormous potential is investing — at scale — in both “hard” and “soft” infrastructure.  

The magnitude of both the challenge and the opportunity is such that it will require smart, blended strategic investment by both indigenous African capital and international investors. Noteworthy among the former are South Africa’s Government Employees Pension Fund and its sister organization the Public Investment Corporation. They have already launched a number of strategic, long-term investments in Africa, and are poised to accelerate their efforts even further.

Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown led discussion at 2015's Davos dinner.

Below: Gordon Brown with Matthew Kiernan and Paul Clements-Hunt, IPCM's Senior Global Strategy Advisor.

Below: Dr Kiernan, Lord Stern, George Soros, and Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz at the 2009 meeting.