Goldman Sachs makes ESG bet with acquisition of asset manager Imprint Capital

The asset-management firm advises clients on investing based on their environmental, social and governance views and has more than $550 million of assets under advisement

Jul 14, 2015 @ 10:38 am

By Bloomberg News

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. agreed to buy Imprint Capital Advisors, an asset-management firm that advises clients on investing based on their environmental, social and governance views.

The bank expects to complete the deal in the next few months, Goldman Sachs said Monday in a statement that didn't disclose terms. San Francisco-based Imprint Capital has 17 employees and more than $550 million of assets under advisement, according to a separate statement.

Eric Lane and Tim O'Neill, co-heads of Goldman Sachs's investment-management division, have made several small acquisitions as part of an effort to increase revenue in their business by more than 10% a year. The unit generated $6.04 billion of revenue in 2014, or about 17% of the New York-based firm's total.

The acquisition “deepens our ability to help clients better align their portfolios with their broader values and objectives,” Mr. Lane and Mr. O'Neill wrote in a memo to employees.


Goldman Sachs last month named Hugh Lawson to lead the asset-management unit's ESG investing program. So-called sustainable-investment assets jumped 61% globally in two years to $21.4 trillion at the start of 2014, according to a report earlier this year from the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance.

“ESG is already and will increasingly be integrated one way or another into all investing activities,” Mr. Lawson said Monday in an interview. “What some clients want to do is take another step, and say there's a set of values or priorities or objectives we have, and I really want them amplified in my portfolio.”

Imprint was founded in 2007 and constructs portfolios by placing money with outside managers. Goldman Sachs will add 15 of the firm's employees as part of the deal, while Imprint Chief Executive Officer William McCalpin, who also serves as independent chairman of Janus Capital Group mutual funds, will not join the bank.

The purchase would be the eighth since Mr. Lane joined Mr. O'Neill as co-head of the division in December 2011. The firm in April agreed to buy a unit of Pacific Life Insurance Co. that managed $18 billion of assets, primarily for pension clients.


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