Aug 08

Alternative Investments: A Sustainable Solution for Economic Growth and Social Impact

By Christoff Bauernschmitt, Head of Alternative Investments, Old Mutual Investment Group, Old Mutual Namibia

In the realm of finance, alternative investments offer diversification and returns beyond traditional asset classes in finance, extending portfolios beyond equities, bonds, and cash. In the context of the Old Mutual Investment Group, alternative investments play a vital role in addressing the challenges faced by societies and economies while aligning with sustainability principles.

As a renowned financial institution, we recognise the significance of alternative investments in driving positive change. The company’s portfolio comprises a diverse set of alternative investment options, including hybrid equity, infrastructure, private equity, international private equity, Agri-investments, and impact investments. In our case, our focus is on infrastructure, land serving, private equity, and commercial property.

One thing I should add is that sustainability lies at the heart of alternative investments. It entails being mindful of risks, conscious of our impact, deliberate in our choices, in our approach, and focused on measuring results. Our approach is to sustainability be guided by four non-negotiable principles: sustainable, risk-adjusted returns; focus on development; driven by impact; and active and responsible ownership.

Our sustainability thesis emphasizes maximizing positive impact by leveraging alternative investments to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals address global challenges such as clean energy, decent work, economic growth, industry, innovation, infrastructure, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities, responsible consumption, production, and climate action.

Several successful case studies highlight the transformative power of alternative investments. For instance, the Keetmanshoop mall, Walvis Bay housing project and the Otavi Solar Plant project. Alternative investments offer diversification and returns beyond traditional asset classes, including private equity and infrastructure as mentioned. These investments are crucial for our groups sustainability efforts and address societal and economic problems.

These alternative investment alternatives have the ability to address some of the most important problems that societies are currently facing. The well-known barriers to development include poverty and social inequality, slow economic and productivity growth, high unemployment rates, a lack of skilled workers, and poor access to essential infrastructure. As an organisation we want to help find long-lasting answers to these problems by investing in alternative assets, in Namibia for Namibia.