Asset Management ESG

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Ropes & Gray offers comprehensive advice to asset managers, institutional investors, and other industry participants seeking to incorporate sustainability, ESG and CSR considerations into their businesses, and to comply with requirements that they do so.

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Overview

We are an early mover in ESG and CSR integration and impact investing, helping asset managers, institutional owners, and issuers navigate the complex considerations required throughout the investment decision-making process. Our clients have the advantage of a deep bench of attorneys with expertise in every aspect of this field—fund structuring, formation and operation, private equity transactions, leveraged finance, securities and public companies, tax and benefits (including ERISA), and issues relevant to family offices, sovereign wealth funds, and charitable organizations, among others. Senior members of our team have advised on ESG, CSR and supply chain compliance matters for almost 30 years, giving clients a long-term perspective that few firms can match.

Underpinning Ropes & Gray’s efforts in sustainability, ESG, and CSR is our foundation as an advisor to asset management industry participants. More than 300 Ropes & Gray partners, counsel and associates focus on advising a global client base of asset management firms, including public and private fund sponsors, investors, and investment advisers, on all aspects of their business. Our work covers the entire spectrum of private and registered fund structures and vehicles, investment strategies, asset types and industries. Our clients rely on us to identify significant commercial, regulatory and economic issues, to help them understand emerging trends, and to craft innovative solutions that match their specific circumstances and goals. We help our clients both understand the regulatory environment within which they are operating and stay ahead of stakeholder requests.

Many of our clients have shown a deep commitment to ESG, CSR and supply chain compliance—or, at least, recognize the business value of it—and turn to Ropes & Gray for advice in these  initiatives. We also advise trade and industry groups in creating their own frameworks and best practices, and in influencing proposed legislative and regulatory efforts, “soft law instruments,” and codes of conduct.

We advise many asset management industry participants in adopting one or more of the growing number of ESG guidelines and procedures. Our work for them includes helping to develop ESG and CSR tools and identifying data to assist in evaluating companies against those criteria. Many asset owners and investment managers have voluntarily adopted ESG and CSR policies and release annual reports to investors, and they rely on Ropes & Gray’s guidance in these efforts.

Similarly, many of our clients are striving to ensure that their overall investments and related incentives are appropriately structured to help drive meaningful, measurable positive change, as well as competitive financial returns. We have advised on a number of these matters and help asset managers and institutional investors looking to monitor their social and environmental missions and maintain the high ethical standards of their investments.

A fundamental building block of sustainable investing is ensuring that the operating companies at the end of the investment chain actually meet the sustainability goals of their investors and the asset managers deploying that money. This responsibility extends through the operating companies to the ends of their supply chains. Ropes & Gray has the leading supply chain compliance practice, offering clients a comprehensive approach to supply chain compliance. Asset management industry participants and the operating companies they invest in rely on Ropes & Gray to help them comply with legal requirements; draft and comply with policies and procedures; negotiate and comply with contractual terms and conditions and codes of conduct; develop other aspects of compliance programs; keep on top of emerging trends and industry best practices; provide training; and assist with crisis management and special investigations. Clients rely on us to help them make the right deals on the right terms, thoughtfully assess risk and make appropriate trade-offs, and respond quickly to meet business demands -- among them is meeting their ESG, CSR, and sustainability requirements and responsibilities.

In addition, our team regularly represents issuers on their compliance with a wide range of enacted, pending and proposed regulatory requirements; “soft law” instruments; and industry and NGO codes of conduct, standards, frameworks and guidance, including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. For more details on our capabilities, visit ESG, CSR and Business and Human Rights

Experience

  • Advising Bain Capital in the formation of its $390 million Double Impact Fund, and
    • Advising the Double Impact Fund on its investment in HealthDrive, a specialty provider of integrated healthcare.
    • Advising the Double Impact Fund on its investment in Penn Foster, a provider of skills development and digital credentialing solutions, and on Penn Foster’s subsequent acquisition of Ashworth College.
  • Advising Hamilton Lane in the formation of its Impact Fund.
  • Advising Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo & Co. in the formation of its $400 million Farm Land Optimization Fund II.
  • Advising TPG’s The Rise Fund on its investment in EverFi, a leading provider of subscription-based digital learning to K-12 schools, universities, corporations, sports teams and NGOs.
  • Advising CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution and the world’s oldest DFI, on its investment in M-Kopa, a leading provider of off-grid solar energy in East Africa.
  • Advising a leading credit fund manager on the development of its firm-wide and product-specific ESG and sustainability policies.
  • Advising a leading activist hedge fund manager on the launch of its impact investing fund.
  • Advising a leading U.S. university endowment with respect to its ESG, sustainability and impact investing activities.
  • Advising Accion, the microfinance lender, on a range of matters.
  • Advising Root Capital, the agricultural impact lender, on a range of matters.
  • Assisting with the research and design of a development fund for the Government of Afghanistan from the Ministry of Finance in Afghanistan; the research will result in a report outlining potential fund structures and make recommendations about structure, investment strategy and investment management practices that will be designed to reassure private and public investors about the safety of investment in Afghanistan.
  • Advising the Maine Mountain Collaborative on potential structures for creating a long-term closed-end fund, Exemplary Forestry Fund, LLC, to invest in forests and to manage its investments in a sustainable manner.
  • Represented a leading university with respect to its pursuit of a fossil fuel divestment initiative.

Market Perception

  • Financial Times North America Innovative Lawyers 2018 – Shortlisted as one of the top firms for legal expertise
  • The Financial Times Asia-Pacific Innovative Lawyers 2018 – Consistently recognized as one of the most innovative global law firms in the Asia-Pacific region
  • Law360 Private Equity Practice Group of the Year (2017 and 2018) - A coveted distinction that recognizes law firms whose work for clients has resonated throughout the legal industry in addition to accounting for the size, complexity and significance of deals advised on
  • Law360 Asset Management Group of the Year 2017 – Recognized for work to help fund sponsors, investors and independent directors to negotiate contracts and understand shifts in investment laws around the globe
  • U.S. News & World Report-Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” 2019 – Recognized as a top-tier firm in the United States for Private Funds / Hedge Funds Law. In 2018, the firm was named “Law Firm of the Year” for Mutual Funds and in 2017, was named “Law Firm of the Year” for Private Funds/Hedge Funds.
  • Chambers Global 2018 Ranked global-wide as a leading law firm for Investment Funds: Private Equity: Fund Formation. Ranked in the United States for Investment Funds: Hedge Funds, and in the Asia-Pacific region for Investment Funds: Private Equity
  • Ranked by Chambers USA 2019 as a top-tier firm for Hedge & Mutual Funds, Investment Funds: Investor Representation, Investment Funds: Registered Funds and Private Equity: Buyouts and Private Equity: Fund Formation. In 2017, the firm was awarded the Client Service Award for Investment Funds.
  • IFLR1000 2019 – Ranked as a tier-one law firm in the United States for Private Equity Funds, Registered Funds and Financial Services Regulatory and Hedge Funds. Ranked as a leading law firm in Hong Kong for Private Equity Funds.
  • Legal 500 U.S. 2018 Ranked for Investment Fund Formation and Management: Alternative/Hedge Funds, Mutual/Registered/ETFs and Private Equity Funds
  • Chambers UK 2019 – Ranked highly for Investment Funds: Private Equity and Private Equity: Buyouts: High-end Capability
  • Legal 500 UK 2019 – Ranked in the U.K. as a leading Private Equity Transactions practice and Investment Fund Formation & Management – Private Funds
  • Chambers Asia-Pacific 2019 – Highly ranked in the Asia-Pacific region for Investment Funds: Private Equity, Corporate M&A & Private Equity, and in China/Hong Kong for Investment Funds: Private Equity and Private Equity: Buyouts & Venture Capital Investment
  • PERE 2018 ­– Named as a finalist for “Asia Law Firm of the Year in Fund Formation”
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