We view the journey of RS Group as a “process of exploration,” which is an on-going process of learning and adapting to the evolving needs, challenges and opportunities in the sector. We acknowledge the importance of remaining open to new ideas and approaches as we continue to refine our strategy and mission to ensure effective impact and performance. As you can see from the timeline below, we have made strides year after year towards our goal of maximizing the impact of our capital and resources. In the process, we hope we have played a small role in a domino effect of changing mindsets, values and priorities, translating our success into positive impact.
How it all began.
- A change in the family trust structure leads to Annie assuming more management responsibility of her assets. Despite a lack of interest in investing, she accepts that learning about it comes with the territory of becoming a responsible wealth owner.
- With the encouragement and support of Bonny Landers, then CEO of the family office serving Annie and her parents and siblings, Annie starts to learn about socially responsible investing, and begins her philanthropic journey.
Our Team Building
Founder and Chair
CEO of The Family Office
Stepping up the learning curve.
- The learning journey goes into full swing. Annie becomes very interested in the related ideas of social entrepreneurship and impact investing, and begins to invest in the Hong Kong social entrepreneurship ecosystem.
- At this time, the portfolio still takes a bifurcated approach. A separate vehicle, th River Star Foundation, is established for making philanthropic grants.
- Annie attends multiple philanthropy and family office conferences and with the help of Anna Wang, a philanthropy consultant, she travels to the US and Europe to meet and talk with different people, both funders and NGOs, to learn about their thinking and their work.
- Recognizing that she wants her investments to reflect her values, Annie invites Ivo Knoepfel from onValues to help her migrate her investments into socially responsible and impact investments.
Senior Advisor — Philanthropy
Senior Advisor — Investment
Adopting the “Blended Value” framework.
- Phase 1 of the portfolio’s SRI strategy is implemented, with 50% of the portfolio is transferred to SRI strategies.
- The group also began its multi-year grant-giving relationship with Landesa.
- Katy Yung is brought on as the first full-time staff to support Annie’s investments and philanthropy.
- After meeting Jed Emerson in New York, Annie invites him to Hong Kong to share his Blended Value concept.
- Wanting to incorporate the Blended Value framework into her strategy, and realizing the benefit of bringing in additional expertise to spur faster learning and more effective action, Annie formally engages Jed and Anna as strategic advisors, and the team begins to hold review and strategy meetings bi-annually.
Early activities and rebranding.
- The team is rebranded as RS Group to demonstrate the desire to take a holistic approach to managing its investments and grants as a single portfolio.
- The Group performs its first annual review of its invested funds.
- The team continues to explore different impact investing strategies and starts looking at direct investment opportunities.
- A visit to Bhutan leads to a multi-year grant to World Food Program and continued interest in the country.
- The group also began its support for Public Interest Law Network (PILnet).
Formalizing investment policy. Increased focus on local capacity building.
- The Group formalizes its Investment Policy Statement (“IPS”).
- The Group strengthens its focus on social entrepreneurship by moving from an opportunistic approach to a systemic field-building approach.
- To assess Hong Kong’s social entrepreneurship ecosystem, the Group initiates a research project, EngageHK.
- Began strategic partnership with ADM Capital Foundation to support environmental issues affecting Hong Kong and China.
- Joan Shang joins the Group as Associate to increase the Group’s active engagement with local actors.
Strengthening commitment to climate change.
- Informed and inspired by the growing Divest-Invest movement¹, the Group formally incorporates climate change mitigation in its IPS via adopting a fossil-fuel policy and devising a divestment plan. Though climate change factors had already been considered by most of the Group’s investment managers, the Group feels the need to adopt a more intentional stance.
- The Group completes its currency review and adopts a policy to manage currency risks.
- As the first round of multi-year grants comes to a close, the Group begins to consider developing more specific impact themes related to climate change and with more focus on the Asian region.
Bonny left the family office in 2013
Sharing experience with the community.
- The Group formalizes its Total Portfolio approach by refining its IPS into a “Total Portfolio Statement” which includes both investment and philanthropic activities.
- The Group joins the B Analytics platform to facilitate its social metrics reporting.
- The Group publishes its first article² on its journey of incorporating climate change mitigation into the portfolio.
- The Group decides to publish its own Impact Report.
- Ronie Mak joins the Group as Managing Director.
Taking stock and looking to the future.
- The Group completely exits from its legacy PE investments, leaving the portfolio 100% mission-aligned.
- More consideration is given to how to use our voice to create more impact.
- Development of our Impact Report with intention to launch in 2016.
- Began the process of exploring new strategies to enhance the impact from our portfolio and transition into the next phase of our strategy.