FOLIOfn acquires First Affirmative to expand its SRI footprint

The technology company seeks to expand its responsible investing footprint with the RIA

Nov 1, 2016 @ 3:50 pm

By Grete Suarez

FOLIOfn Inc., an investment technology company, said on Tuesday that it has acquired First Affirmative Financial Network, an independent registered investment adviser specializes in sustainable, responsible, impact (SRI) investing.

Founded in 1988 and based in Colorado Springs, Colo., First Affirmative focuses on SRI investing as well strategies on the integration of environmental, social, governance (ESG). The firm manages $1 billion of client assets serving 2,500 investor households, according to the statement on Tuesday.

The move to acquire First Affirmative comes as a fit for FOLIOfn, which was founded in 1999 by Steven M.H. Wallman. Based in McLean, Va., the technology company has been active in the responsible investment space, introducing Sharia-compliant multi-bank sweep programs, and a filter to exclude blacklisted companies by Genocide Intervention Network. It supports more than 420 financial adviser firms and institutions through its platform, according to the statement.

"We have long provided financial advisers — and were the first brokerage platform to provide individual investors — with sector, social issue and security type filters to customize their portfolios and align their investments with their social values,” said Mr. Wallman in the statement.

The move to expand into the responsible investment is also in response to demands from the evolving demographics of clients.

"Advisers who are increasingly focused on SRI/ESG investing are realizing opportunities for their clients, especially millennials and women," said Greg Vigrass, president of Folio Institutional, the brokerage and custodial platform.

FOLIOfn said in the statement that First Affirmative's investment manager-of-manager expertise and third-party relationships with money managers, mutual funds, ETFs, and financial advisers that have knowledge in responsible investing will benefit their investors.

The technology company plans to expand its SRI conference, and encourage clients to invest in private companies that raise capital through VIA Folio, its online private capital network. The Folio group also includes a self-clearing broker-dealer and custodian called Folio Investments.

"We see our new relationship with Folio as a logical and exciting step forward, and one that will elevate and transform the sustainable, responsible, impact investment industry,” said George Gay, CEO of First Affirmative.

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