I had a simple goal in life – to make finance do good for the world. That is why I joined Morgan Stanley at 21 and saw how finance brought amazing opportunities to the society (it did some bad things as well but let’s not go into that today). I wanted to take the magic of capital markets back to my poor country Bangladesh. Thus, with a head full of idealism and heart full of optimism, I left Morgan Stanley and returned to Bangladesh. There I joined Grameen Bank and worked on Grameen Bank’s first financing round, in effect bringing Grameen Bank to the world of capital. All this was almost 25 years ago and I am still at it. I still ardently believe that the right kind of investment capital and the emergence of social capital markets can make the world a more equitable place. Interestingly it is happening now and it is happening through what is known as ‘impact investing’.
The first question anyone who is introduced to the impact investing world invariably asks is, ‘Can you have investments that can create immediate positive impact?’ and the second question is ‘Can you measure that impact?’. The answer to both these questions as we know is a resounding Yes, but then to explain how that happens takes a while – for most people the impact measurement field is a completely unknown one. Thus, to grasp the nuances around it becomes difficult without understanding the basic terms.