Sustainable investment assets totaled more than $35 trillion as of July 2021, according to a report from the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, and you can be sure that the vast majority of that money is controlled by major investment firms and financial companies. But individual investors can also get a piece of the action – as long as they know where to look.
One place they can look is Finite, a Santa Monica, California-based fund manager whose stated mission is to “let everyone invest in climate change solutions.” You can invest with as little as $500 at Finite and do so in only a couple of minutes.
Founded in 2019, Finite aims to take the complexity out of sustainable investing and make it accessible to all types of investors. As the company states on its website: “Investing in sustainable assets used to be a complex process that was only available to large institutions and ultra-wealthy individuals. We intend to make it possible for anyone to open an account in minutes.”
Finite recently launched its first investment fund, SOLRX, which seeks to allocate at least 80% of its assets into solar energy instruments. The fund mainly invests in loans and securities from solar finance companies, specialty finance companies, solar platforms, and solar industry participants. The latter includes manufacturers and installers of solar energy systems for residential, commercial, and industrial use.
The fund has a $500 minimum investment. Investors can buy shares daily and submit a repurchase request once a quarter to make them more liquid, with the fund offering to repurchase 5% to 25% of outstanding shares.
Buying into SOLRX is simple. It begins with logging onto the Finite platform – which is supported by partner US Bank – and clicking “invest now.” After entering data similar to what you’ll find when opening any other kind of financial account, you can fund your account and start buying shares.
Finite’s management team is led by company founder Kevin Conroy, who serves as president and portfolio manager and also leads its strategic and long-term initiatives. Prior to joining Finite, Conroy was a product manager at Dividend Finance, one of the nation’s largest residential solar loan originators.
The other portfolio manager is David Kretschmer, whose previous experience includes 25 years at health insurance giant Anthem. He also co-founded Sierra Trust Funds, a family of mutual funds sponsored by Great Western Bank.
In a January 2022 interview with Forbes, Conroy referred to SOLRX as the first fund of its kind approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission. One of the fund’s strategies is to give solar energy installers quicker access to needed capital, with the goal of getting solar projects off the ground faster.
“What we’ve been able to do is simplify the entire process, both for investors and builders, enabling more deals to get done and more capital to flow into the asset class,” Conroy told Forbes.
In addition to solar energy, Finite is also exploring investments in climate venture funds, wastewater treatment, advanced transportation, energy-efficient buildings, and sustainable agriculture.
SOLRX fund managers take a number of steps to find the best potential returns. They begin by consulting with industry leaders to identify solar finance assets that meet two sets of criteria: attractive return profiles, and a positive climate impact. Each investment goes through portfolio reviews and financial modeling and a process to ensure regulatory compliance.
Rather than use what it calls a “complex rating system” to measure the climate impact of its holdings, Finite embraces a more transparent model. Investors are given simple metrics to see their impact, such as how much renewable power their investments helped generate. The company does not invest in fossil fuels and says it “never will.”