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Advisor opens in-house racial justice investment strategy to other FAs, clients

Rachel Robasciotti, CEO and founder of Robasciotti & Philipson, is launching a new investment management firm.
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Two years ago amid rising interest in ESG investing, advisor Rachel Robasciotti launched an investment strategy to help clients make more of a direct impact on racial, gender, economic and climate justice.

Now, as protests spark across the nation in response to yet another police shooting of a Black man, the CEO of Robasciotti & Philipson is expanding access to the strategy and spinning it out into an independent investment management firm, Adasina Social Capital.

The name, which derives from a Yoruba word meaning “she opens the way,” reflects Robasciotti’s goal with Adasina: make the RISE methodology, now known as the Adasina Social Justice Index, more easily accessible in the market.

“Given the moment that we’re at in history with all of the threats to racial, gender and climate justice, it really felt like it was time to expand what we were doing” the San Francisco-based advisor says. “We’re taking our methodology and value set and expanding it out into a company that can offer a full suite of investment solutions.”

At launch, the firm is offering the Adasina-Activest Fiscal Justice Strategy, a fixed-income portfolio designed to invest directly in Black communities across the U.S. According to SEC filings, the firm plans to launch the Adasina Social Justice All Cap Global ETF. It will use the Adasina index methodology to exclude companies and industries that perpetuate systemic inequality, such as private prisons.

The funds will meet growing demand for impact investing, Robasciotti says.

SRI and ESG funds attracted a record $20.6 billion in new assets in 2019, four times more than 2018, according to CNBC.

Many ESG and SRI funds overlook specific issues that directly impact marginalized communities and use an approach to include “the least bad actor” in each sector, Robasciotti says. Adasina will instead work directly with communities it hopes to determine which companies and industries should be excluded from its index, and which communities should be included in its fixed-income strategy.

“Many investors today are seeking solutions that reflect their personal values, but aren’t sure where to start or how their money really makes an impact,” Maya Philipson, co-founder and COO of Adasina, said in a statement. “However, when you begin by listening to the community you intend to impact, you become accountable to them — and it is through accountability that real change happens.”

While Adasina will work closely with Robasciotti & Philipson as a sister company, Robasciotti wants the new company to be fully dedicated to investment strategy and activism as opposed to a wealth management and financial advisory practice. Robasciotti & Philipson will include the Adasina strategy when appropriate for clients, and the strategies will be available to other wealth management firms, Robasciotti says.

“We are specifically looking at financial instruments we can create to move social justice forward,” Robasciotti says.

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