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Social finance and impact investment

We draw together our social finance expertise, leveraging global market-leading leading finance, ESG and asset management practices, to advise investors, wholesalers, intermediaries, foundations and impact-driven organisations. 

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Our social impact work

Examples of our social finance and impact investment work

Peterborough Social Impact Bond

Peterborough Social Impact Bond

We worked on the first ever Social Impact Bond (SIB) in the UK in 2010 for Social Finance Ltd, a non-profit organisation that partners with the government, social sector and financial community to tackle social problems.

The SIB provided funding for prisoner rehabilitation programmes, creating a financial return to investors based on how far levels of reoffending dropped among the prisoner group.

Social Finance Ltd estimates that there are now nearly 100 Social Impact Bonds in 19 countries, which have mobilised more than GBP300m of investment to tackle complex social issues like refugee employment, loneliness among the elderly, and rehousing and reskilling homeless young people.

Five Lamps

Five Lamps

We advised nine investors on a GBP5m note issuance for Five Lamps, a UK-based charity and responsible lender offering affordable loans to socially and financially excluded individuals: an alternative solution to high-cost credit.

The funding has mobilised over GBP60m of lending, enabling Five Lamps to offer approximately 100,000 affordable loans under its ‘Conduit’ brand. This funding represents the largest-ever single investment in a UK community lender.

The investors included specialist social investment funds Big Issue Invest, FSE, North East Social Investment Fund, Social Investment Scotland and Social and Sustainable Capital, as well as charitable trusts the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Barrow Cadbury Trust and Harpur Trust.

Access - The Foundation for Social Investment

Access - The Foundation for Social Investment

Access is a major foundation at the centre of the social investment ecosystem, working to help charities and social enterprises in England become more self-reliant and financially resilient.

A&O partner and global co-head of Social Impact, Franz Ranero, is a member of Access’ board, chair of its investment committee, and part of the A&O team advising the Foundation on its various grant-making programmes.

These broad programmes of support are made to social finance intermediaries as part of blended finance packages aimed at strengthening community-based organisations and increasing innovative sources of funding to the market.

As well as the ongoing work with Access, A&O also regularly advises other wholesale and intermediary participants in the UK social finance sector, including Big Society Capital, Social & Sustainable Capital, Big Issue Invest and Sumerian Partners.