Elizabeth Godo | Palladium - Mar 30 2020
Deploying the Power of Finance: Enclude is Now Palladium Impact Capital

Since 2014, Enclude has been the market-leading impact investment bank, helping clients overcome barriers to sustainable growth through access to capital, technologies, and expertise.

Effective April 2020, Enclude will be known as Palladium Impact Capital.
Enclude began as a merger between Netherlands-based Triodos Facet and ShoreBank International in the U.S., leveraging the companies’ combined 50-year track record of entrepreneurship development, inclusive finance, and professional services delivery.

In 2018, Palladium purchased Enclude from Triodos Group, a pioneer in sustainable, values-based banking. This re-brand comes after a full and successful integration over the past 18 months.

According to Managing Director Steven van Weede, it’s this deep history, track record, and unique combination of capabilities that sets his team apart.

“Nobody does what we do with the same institutional reach and approach,” he says.

An investment banker by training, van Weede joined Enclude in 2014 following senior roles with Merrill Lynch (now Bank of America) and Citi in both London and Johannesburg. He will lead Palladium Impact Capital, supported by a global team that has already mobilised nearly USD 600 million across capital raising and mergers & acquisitions.

Capital as a Force for Good

Investors are increasingly looking for ways to have a positive impact, and global wealth available for investment is estimated at USD 250 trillion. Tapping into this private capital is key to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Van Weede believes that well-designed businesses and investment vehicles have the potential to provide sustainable solutions.

“We believe in the transformative power of entrepreneurship and finance to build stronger, more inclusive local economies,” he says. “My goal is to deploy the power of finance to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges, which includes supporting exciting businesses in their quest to raise capital, and the design, structuring, and capitalisation of investment vehicles.”

Christopher Hirst, Palladium CEO, agrees: “We're transforming the way development is financed, bringing a commercial approach to unlock vast sums of private capital for multiple projects around the world. These new models ensure accountability and full transparency in the process, and ultimately, improve people’s lives.”

Leading with Gender

Last year, Enclude was the sole financial advisor in BRAC Uganda’s transformation from a microfinance operation into a fully-fledged bank.
“Poor rural women, who are our primary customers, really want savings and deposits,” BRAC’s Shameran Abed told ImpactAlpha at the time. “Sometimes the people they’re saving from are the male members of their families.”

For van Weede, this type of support for rural and low-income communities, and for women in particular, is just one example of what’s possible with the right partners and a tailored transaction process.

“We find that opportunities to positively affect gender dynamics exist in virtually every investment opportunity, even where they’re not immediately obvious,” he explains. “This is why we view every single transaction or structuring assignment through a gender lens.”

This sentiment is shared by Palladium Board Member and former Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop, who argues that the time is ripe for gender lens investing to play a greater role in the impact space.

"Empowering women and girls is one of the fastest ways to reap social and economic dividends," she says. “According to the United Nations, gender equality is key to unlocking many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and women’s empowerment is an opportunity for nations to grow economically and socially.”

Maintaining Integrity

As gender lens investing, social entrepreneurship, and the impact market grow in popularity, van Weede’s only caution is not to get caught up in the hype.

“We welcome the increasing interest,” he says enthusiastically. “But we have to be mindful of the need to maintain integrity in the sector, including through robust measurement and management, for the term to have any meaning.”

For van Weede and his team, “impact-washing” is to be carefully avoided.

“We are market practitioners with corporate finance, consulting and investment banking experience, applying these skills in impact settings. As part of Palladium, we’ve brought deep sector knowledge, broad geographic representation and financial markets expertise under one roof with rigour and integrity.”

Palladium Impact Capital (formerly Enclude)’s service suite includes Capital Raising, M&A Advisory, and Capital Strategy and Structuring. Learn more at capital.thepalladiumgroup.com.