As a life-long student of change, Roger Dickhout’s journey towards impact investing happened naturally. Impact investing refers to the intentional pursuit of social and environmental benefits when investing your money, in addition to financial returns. Like many of us, Dickhout sought to achieve multiple objectives; to have a positive personal impact, do well in business, to invest wisely, and to put his values first.

Roger Dickhout - Canadian Impact Investor and Business Leader
Roger Dickhout – Canadian Impact Investor and Business Leader

Formerly a partner at management consulting firm McKinsey & Company and Chief Executive Officer, Director of, and investor in several Canadian companies, Dickhout has spent his career analyzing and leading complex businesses. When he first started looking at impact investment options, he applied three principles that helped guide his actions as a business leader and entrepreneur. 

1.  Consider all stakeholders

The first principle recognizes that while business is conducted in a very competitive arena, generally you are more successful if you take a view of contributing and helping as you go. Dickhout says, “if you are concerned about how your business impacts your customers, employees, communities and the environment, then generally you’re going to be more successful”. Simple as it sounds, Dickhout believes this principle contributed immensely to the success of the teams that he has led. 

2.  Fundamentals come first

Impact investing is just investing. The same fundamentals apply. In fact, Roger and his wife Janet invest in a series of impact funds across a range of asset classes including – public equities, real estate, infrastructure, private equity and private debt.  These investments are fully integrated with remaining more traditional investments as part of an overall asset allocation strategy.

Dickhout considers impact investments in a disciplined and professional way. Developing an asset allocation strategy, conducting due diligence, pricing risk and generating healthy returns are foundational skills that take focus and dedication. With a career that has included private equity deal-making and a need to steward his family’s personal and philanthropic financial assets, Dickhout had an ideal environment to cultivate these skills. “I believe if you’re going to be a successful impact investor, first you’ve got to learn how to be a successful investor”. 

 “We like to think that our money is contributing to something worthwhile while earning a return. It’s helpful to know about social and environmental issues and the underlying systems you’re trying to influence with your investments”

3.  Know where your money is going

Joel Solomon said it best with a simple question in the book Clean Money Revolution, “Do you know what your money is doing?’ Dickhout adds that “We like to think that our money is contributing to something worthwhile while earning a return. It’s helpful to know about social and environmental issues and the underlying systems that you’re trying to influence with your investments”.

For Roger and Janet, conservation, environmental sustainability and poverty reduction are multi-dimensional themes that resonate with them. It’s also what attracted them to the Ilu Women’s Empowerment Fund, which focuses on financial inclusion and gender equality.

“Lending is about assessing and pricing risk. Deetken Impact seems to follow a very disciplined risk management process. The Ilu Women’s Empowerment Fund invests in private debt which is a good asset class for impact investing. The five-year term to liquidity also appealed to us, coupled with the fact that Deetken is a very experienced lender in Latin America, proven by their 10-year track record of successful returns.”

Deborah is a micro entrepreneur and client of microfinance institution Caja Maynas, located in the Peruvian amazonian region. She used a recent loan to install a water tank at her home to provide her family with drinking water.
Deborah is a micro-entrepreneur and client of microfinance institution Caja Maynas, located in the Peruvian Amazonian region. She used a recent loan to install a water tank at her home to provide her family with drinking water.

Dickhout is a strong believer that impact investing will be more successful, attract more capital and therefore ultimately have more impact if it’s done from an investment-first mentality. “Deetken Impact appears to take this approach to making loans and we found the historical rates of return to be commensurate with the risk”.

When considering the social metrics of the Ilu Women’s Empowerment Fund, Dickhout observes that it’s a very attractive concept to help people in difficult situations who are trying to create a better life for themselves, enabled by these small loans. “Women’s empowerment has been proven to have substantial societal benefits well beyond the specific ventures they’re involved in. Women get more educated and become more independent. This tends to have huge impacts on their children, on the economy and society as a whole, and the way that countries are governed.”

Key takeaway for those starting their impact investing journey

Dickhout highlights that a key feature of his learning journey over the last five years has been to actively seek out and attend conferences, particularly those with a good mix of Canadian and international impact investors in attendance. His mission for these events is to learn and expand his network. When he meets potential principals from funds that fit his strategy, he takes the time to get to know them and what they do, conduct due diligence and develop trust before investing.

For Dickhout, impact investing is the most exciting movement in finance today because of its potential to enhance overall well-being. It harnesses the power of finance and business to generate specific social and environmental benefits. According to the 2018 Canadian Impact Investment Trends Report, it is a movement that has also seen 81% growth over a two-year period with impact investors overwhelmingly reporting that performance has met or exceeded their expectations. 

Dickhout’s key messages for others looking to start their journey? Get out and meet people, learn the basics, and do your due diligence. Impact investing carries the same requirements as any investment and as Dickhout aptly puts it “if you take an investing first approach, then the impact is free”.

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Magali Lamyin, Director of Communications and Development for Deetken Impact

MAGALI LAMYIN

Director of Communications and Development

 

Magali brings extensive market intelligence, business development and marketing experience from her work at the Central Bank of Mexico, the Canadian Institute for Market Intelligence, and the IESE-PWC e-Business Centre in Barcelona. She also co-led national marketing campaigns for businesses in the hospitality and early childhood education sectors for almost a decade before joining Deetken. In her current role, she is responsible for leading Deetken Impact’s communications, marketing and branding strategy. She is also involved in the due diligence process for project selection with an emphasis in Mexico.

Magali holds a BA in Economics from Mexico's ITAM and a Master's degree in Economics from the University of British Columbia.

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Jose Lamyin, Managing Partner Deetken Impact

JOSE LAMYIN

Managing Partner

 

José has extensive experience as a business advisor for clients throughout Canada, Europe and Latin America in mining, telecommunications, and finance. Prior to co-founding The Deetken Group, José worked for Teck Cominco in Peru and Canada and Deutsche Bank in London (UK). José has spearheaded much of the strategic growth of Deetken Asset Management since inception and is currently focused on investment selection.

José received his BS in Engineering from the University of British Columbia and MBA from IESE School of Business (Barcelona). Born in Peru, José is fluent in English and Spanish.

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Alexa Blain, Managing Partner Deetken Impact

ALEXA BLAIN

Managing Partner

 

Alexa is responsible for finance, operations and investor relations at Deetken Impact. She brings over 10 years of experience in financial consulting and asset management, with specific expertise in company and investment analysis, business valuation and securities/corporate finance. Prior to joining Deetken, she spent three years with African Alliance, a pan-African financial services group, where she focused on expanding the firm’s retail financial services operations as well as on the origination and negotiation of new capital. In addition, Alexa has six years of asset management experience with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the Macquarie Group and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

Alexa is a CFA Charterholder. She has also completed an MA in Financial Economics and an Honours BA in Economics, both at the University of Toronto.

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Fernando Alvarado, Head of Deetken Impact Sustainable Energy

FERNANDO ALVARADO

CEO

Honduras Renewable Energy Managers (HREM) and Caribbean Renewable Energy Managers (CAREM)

 

Fernando Alvarado leads the General Partner and Investment Advisor of two clean energy and energy efficiency project finance and venture capital funds: Honduras Renewable Energy Financing Facility (H-REFF) and Caribbean Basin Sustainable Energy Fund (CABEF), which he structured and runs with a combined target capitalization of $100m.

Development Investment Banker with 28 years of international credit and investment experience and 18 years of direct experience assessing diversified renewable energy portfolios in Latin America & the Caribbean. He has participated in more than 50 syndicated credit and investment transactions for renewable energy projects in excess of $250 MM. He led the creation, structuring, fundraising, legal closing and portfolio construction of several specialized renewable energy funds.

Costa Rican, based in San Jose, Mr. Alvarado has an MBA in Banking and Finance cum laude from Universidad de Costa Rica.

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Carl Black, Portfolio Manager Deetken Impact

CARL BLACK

Portfolio Manager

 

Carl is a Portfolio Manager with Deetken Impact focused on analyzing and working with MSMEs, social enterprises, and renewable energy developers in Latin America and the Caribbean. His main responsibilities include supporting business development, managing technical assistance projects, leading investment due diligence, and monitoring portfolio performance. Prior to joining Deetken Impact, Carl worked for five years as a consultant, advising public sector clients an non profits in Canada and financial services companies in Latin America. He started his career at the Bank of Canada, where he researched issues related to household and business credit. 

Carl completed an Honours BA in Economics at the University of British Columbia. He also holds an MSc in Economics & Development from the University of Oxford, where he earned distinctions in quantitative and development economics.

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Cristobal Aguirre, Investment Analyst at Deetken Impact

CRISTOBAL AGUIRRE

Investment Analyst

 

Cristobal has over 6 years of experience in the asset management industry, where his responsibilities have ranged from asset allocation and portfolio management to risk analysis and software development. Before relocating to Canada, Cristobal worked as a senior investment analyst in AFP Habitat—Chile’s largest pension fund—where he led the tactical asset allocation and macroeconomic research for emerging markets.

Cristobal is a CFA Charterholder, and completed a BA in Economics at Universidad de Chile.

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Chad Parsons, Senior Investment Analyst at Deetken Impact

CHAD PARSONS

SeniorInvestmentAnalyst

 

Chad has worked as a consultant in business and technology for 20 years – often helping clients with their business transformation initiatives.    He has worked with start-ups, government, and established businesses to further their product and service offerings with a balanced approach.   After pursuing a research degree on leveraging technology for social and economic development; Chad has found a valuable alignment of his background with Deetken’s innovative impact investments. 

Chad completed a BS in Engineering from the University of British Columbia and has a MSc with distinction from the University of Manchester (UK).

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