Merrill Lynch and U.S. Trust reached out to some high-powered clients this quarter to invest in a social-impact bond whose proceeds finance a program to lower recidivism rates among ex-convicts in New York.
The project raised $13.5 million over 60 days from clients of the Bank of America Corp-owned brokerage and wealth management firms. Investors included former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Sommers, Utah philanthropist James Sorenson, hedge fund founder Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Foundation, and the Laura and John Arnold foundation.
“They are looking for new and creative ways … to have a more direct connection between the dollars they are investing and the impact it is having on a social problem that they care about,” Andy Sieg, head of global wealth and retirement solutions at Merrill Lynch….
The Rockefeller Foundation provided $1.32 million guaranty that covers 10 percent of investors’ principal should it fail to repay 100 percent of their investment. The Robin Hood Foundation, a nonprofit with strong support from Wall Street and private equity, invested $300,000 in the project.