22 Apr 2020
Webinar: ESG product dev and op considerations for asset managers


Last year, around $20.6bn flowed into ESG-focused US open end and ETF vehicles, four times the previous year. Given the research we have seen on the future investment decisions of wirehouses, RIAs, private banks, multi-family offices and other investors, most experts are predicting this strong uptick to continue. At the same time fund groups are rushing to launch new funds, rename existing funds and re-evaluate product lineups. During this webinar, we assemble a panel of fund operations and product development experts to explore best practices when it comes to getting your ESG strategy right.

Talking points will include:

• Which type of fund structures will work best for the ESG or impact investing strategies you are launching?
• The best strategies for asset managers looking to tap into retirement accounts with ESG-focused products
• Operational best practice when it comes launching mutual funds, ETFs or separate accounts with an ESG focus
• Wider considerations when looking to roll out an ESG/sustainability framework across your fund family
• Ensuring your ESG messaging is in synch across all functions of the fund complex
• Staying on the right side of the SEC, which is keeping a close eye on fund group product dev and marketing practices when it comes to ESG.
• How is the passive and strategic beta market heating up and what are the various index options for managers looking at this space?
• Considerations around launching very specific thematic ESG-related funds Vs more generalist vehicles
• Board responsibilities around ESG products and the awkward questions directors should be asking

Moderator: Paul McMillan, Editor from Fund Intelligence

George R. Gay, CEO, First Affirmative Financial Network, LLC

George R. Gay is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for First Affirmative Financial Network and a member of the firm’s investment committee. First Affirmative is a leading provider of professional services for investment professionals who focus on responsible and sustainable investing, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing and/or impact investing. George joined the company in 1986, and has been serving as CEO since 1999. He is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) and Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®). George works in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
George has produced and hosted the Sustainable, Responsible, and Impact (SRI) Conference since 1990, and has served on the board of directors of the Social Investment Forum for almost 15 years. The next SRI Conference is scheduled for November 9-11, 2020 in Orlando, Florida.

George graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a bachelor’s degree in National Security and Public Affairs. He served on active duty for nine years in various command, staff, and faculty assignments as an Armor officer.

Ken Grant, Independent Director and Board Chair, Unified Series Trust

Kenneth Grant serves as the Independent Director and Chair of the Board of Directors for Unified Series Trust (UST), a multi-fund, registered investment company and series trust affiliated with Ultimus Fund Solutions. Among its funds are multiple examples of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) commitments. Ken has served in the role for 12 years, and works in Boston, Massachusetts.
Previously, he worked for over 10 years as Chief Officer, Corporate Development for the Global Trust Company – a non-depository trust that creates Collective Investment Trusts and limited liability corporations for institutional investors. Ken has years of C-suite experience working for non-profit organizations and for-profit corporations.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Music Theory and Composition from Syracuse University, and a master’s degree in Theology and Ethics from Boston University. Ken also earned an MBA from Clark University in Marketing and Business Development. He is an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA), and served as director of the church’s Social Witness Policy committee focused on ESG investments.

Dave Carson, President, Ultimus Managers Trust and Unified Series Trust; VP Director of Client Strategies

Dave Carson is the Vice President and Director of Client Strategies for Ultimus Fund Solutions (Ultimus). He also is President for the Ultimus Managers Trust and Unified Series Trust, responsible for managing both trusts and providing expert assistant to investment managers considering starting a registered fund. Dave has been with the company for almost 7 years, joining Ultimus in March 2013. He works in the Cincinnati, Ohio office.
Dave specializes in providing a generalist perspective on mutual fund and investment adviser business risks and concerns. His career experience includes work in mutual fund and investment advisor compliance, bank and investment marketing, mutual fund operations, IT audits, and private banking. Before joining Ultimus, Dave served as the Chief Operations and Compliance Officer for Huntington Funds.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. Dave was Co-Founder and Director of Advancing Fund Governance, organized for those charged with fund governance to help members best serve shareholders and stakeholders. He is an active member of the Investment Company Institute (ICI) and served as board chair of the Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival.

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