The poll of 80 investors by KBI Global Investors in April 2019 charted the views of financial advisers, foundations, endowments, asset managers and consultants.
Impact investing, a subset of socially responsible investing, aims to generate specific beneficial social or environmental effects in addition to financial gain.
It found that 78% of investors are already invested in the impact market, with 94 per cent looking to increase their allocation to these investments over the coming three years.
The 78% of investors already invested in impact investments consisted of 21% in public equity, 21% in private equity and 35% in both.
Eoin Fahy, head of responsible investing at KBI Global Investors, said while the numbers were encouraging, the industry needs to do more to make the impact of these investments easier to measure.
He explained: “While the blended private and public equity approach to impact investing is widely accepted and growing, the impact community at large must do more to connect, educate and make impact investing more tangible for investors through better access and measurement.”
Increasingly investors expect impact investments to be delivered without any detriment to the investment return.
The KBI survey found that just 15% of respondents in the public equity space thought it was fine to accept lower returns to achieve impact. A slightly higher percentage – 28% – said this was acceptable in private equity.
Seven in 10 of those polled said that they would like further education and training on impact investments in the coming years.