Investing in a more sustainable and equitable global community

Mission and Vision

Our aim is to create a paradigm shift in our societal values and priorities so that economic growth does not jeopardize human development and environmental sustainability.

Through our investments, we seek to shape a compassionate society that desires a better world for future generations while protecting “the commons” upon which all life on Earth depends.

We envision a world in which our values and actions reflect our appreciation of our interdependence with the rest of humanity and with the environment.

Our Team

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Annie Chen – Founder and Chair

Annie is dedicating her time and resources toward social and environmental causes with the potential for generating positive systemic change and sustainable development. Believing the potential for change through social entrepreneurship, Annie is working to enhance the development of social entrepreneurship throughout Hong Kong and Asia. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Annie obtained her BA from Brown University and her JD from Columbia Law School.

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Jed Emerson – Senior Advisor

Jed is a widely recognized, international thought leader on impact investing, performance metrics and sustainable finance. As originator of the term “blended value,” he has spent over two decades exploring how capital investment strategies may be executed to create multiple returns. He has held faculty appointments at Harvard, Stanford and Oxford business schools and written extensively on impact investing, social return on investment, and related areas. He is co-author of the book, Impact Investing: Transforming How We Make Money While Making A Difference, the first book published on the topic of impact investing.

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Ivo Knoepfel – Senior Advisor

Ivo is the founder and managing director of onValues Ltd., a leading independent investment consulting firm with a focus on responsible and sustainable investment strategies. With assets under advice in the range of multiple billion USD, onValues supports a wide range of international clients including pension funds, family offices, foundations and HNWIs on aligning their investments to long-term sustainability trends. Based in Zurich, Ivo has in the past worked for pioneering institutions such as Swiss Re (head of group sustainability), SAM (head of research and indices) and responsAbility (microfinance and impact investments). He is a certified analyst/portfolio manager and environmental engineer (MSc and PhD) by training.

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Ronie Mak – Managing Director

Ronie is an investment banker by training with over 15 years of experience in banking.  Ronie previously spent 8 years in HSBC serving in various departments including the CEO office, strategy and business management as well as in-house mergers and acquisitions team for the region. During this period, Ronie acted as the Secretary of the Hong Kong Association of Banks in 2012, and other previous roles included KPMG Corporate Finance, United Parcel Services Mergers and Acquisitions as well as HSBC Corporate Finance. Ronie was born in Hong Kong and graduated from the University of New South Wales in Sydney with merit and a double degree in finance and marketing, Bachelor of Commerce.

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Joan Shang – Senior Associate

Joan provides key organizational support to the RS Group and focuses on RS Group’s philanthropic portfolio. She is also the co-founder of HK Social Innovation Drinks, a monthly drinks bringing together young professionals interested in social innovation to exchange ideas and solutions to social issues. Joan was previously Senior Associate at the Great China office of Ashoka, an international NGO that focuses on promoting social enterpreneurship, and also worked on Clinton Global Initiative’s 2008 Asia meeting in Hong Kong. Joan graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, and is an avid dragon-boat paddler and runner.

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Anna Wang – Senior Advisor

Anna is an advocacy and philanthropy specialist who has worked with many NGOs and foundations in the US, Europe and Asia. She is the founder of Photographers for Hope, an initiative led by photographers who want to use their passion for photography to tell stories that will inspire action and foster a stronger global community. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, Anna was the Vice President for external affairs at Medicines for Malaria Venture, the leading product development partnership in the field of malaria drug research and development. Anna’s advocacy experience stems from her work in numerous political campaigns in the US and across Africa.

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Katy Yung – Director of Investment

Katy focuses on the sustainable and impact investments of RS Group. Formerly an investment banker at J.P. Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Limited, she worked as an Associate of the Hong Kong Corporate Finance division. Katy is the co-founder of an NGO Table for Table for Two’s Hong Kong chapter which aims to raise awareness on the issue of global food imbalance through restaurant and corporate partnerships. She is also a member of the Global Shapers Community, an initiative of the World Economic Forum. Katy graduated from Duke University in North Carolina with a BA in Economics and a minor on Comparative Area Studies.

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Leonie Kelly – Project Director, Sustainable Finance Initiative

Leonie leads on the development of RS Group Sustainable Finance Initiative. She has over 8 years of professional experience spanning conservation finance (Zoological Society of London), impact and sustainability consulting (Deloitte LLP), and financial services (Citi), across Ireland, UK and Europe. She was Head of Impact Innovation and Investment at the Zoological Society of London where she was focused on developing conservation funding mechanisms to direct impact capital to help save species on the edge of extinction. At Deloitte LLP she worked principally across impact investing and assurance. Leonie is a Fellow of the Finance Innovation Lab of London, and holds an MSc in Environment & Development from The London School of Economics & Political Science, and a BA in Economics & Geography from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.

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Andrew Ho – Associate Director, Investments

Andrew is a member of the RS Group investment team. He was previously a portfolio manager at HSBC Global Asset Management (Hong Kong), managing active and passive strategies combining quantitative and fundamental approaches. He also has experience as an equity research analyst at Macquarie Bank and an Asian multi-family office hedge fund. Possessing an entrepreneurial streak, Andrew started an online business focusing on environmentally and socially beneficial products. He is a qualified Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and graduated from the University of Melbourne in Australia with a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours in Finance) degree, majoring in Accounting and Finance.

Our History

There is no real official start of RS Group, which we consider a work-in-progress.

In 2008, Annie Chen, the founder and chair of RS Group, decided to explore ways to engage in philanthropy. Attending a social enterprise conference in Hong Kong, Annie heard a speaker describe how social enterprises differ from mainstream businesses, in that they focus not only on a financial return, but also on positive social and/or environmental impact. Pointing out how the financial tsunami stemmed from the single-minded pursuit of financial profit, the speaker concluded that, in order to move the world towards sustainability, “All businesses should become social enterprises”.

Annie felt as if a light bulb went off in her head. “I discovered the concept of socially responsible investing and I cannot describe how amazing it felt to hear someone vocalize an idea that made total sense to me – it was as though I had found a way to connect my heart with my head”.

RS Group has been on a journey to develop Annie’s portfolio into a total impact portfolio by investing in and supporting for-profit businesses, social enterprises, not-for-profit organizations and initiatives that create social and environmental value while seeking to be a force for making our world more sustainable and just.

Frequently Asked Questions

RS Group is a small family office with great ambitions. Using our experience as an example, we seek to change the conversation regarding approaches to investment and philanthropy. We think we can create a lot more impact when we make our entire portfolio work for good. We are learning by doing, and we hope to share our experience with other like-minded investors who are also looking to create more value with their investments.

We recognize there are areas where philanthropy works better than investments, and we support initiatives we feel are potentially catalytic in nature and those that will leverage the investments we are making.

Through this journey of developing our portfolio for total performance, we hope to also develop ourselves so our team members may find our place in the society, feel connected to our community, and be empowered to advocate for a world we will feel proud to hand off to the next generation.

We recognize the great privilege and responsibility in managing wealth. Taking the “blended value” approach, we aim to make all RS Group’s capital work for good through creating positive financial, social and environmental value.

We believe if our world is to change course and develop more sustainably, we can no longer approach our problems in a bifurcated way where we invest with the aim of only financial gain and use a small amount of the profits for social good. We would like to join a growing market of other investors proving the world that asset owners may truly do good and do well.

In many ways, a total portfolio approach makes investing for the long-term easier. We can invest seed capital in a start-up company which requires us to be patient before we see any results and we can balance that with a liquid, publicly-listed investment which provides us with our operating capital. Focusing on the bigger portfolio and managing for financial performance with impact means each investment balances another.

This is an emerging strategy with limited existing examples. There are few managers with years of experience building, managing and evaluating such a portfolio or products that would fit into our portfolio. We are fortunate to be working with advisors such as Jed Emerson and Ivo Knoepfel who have the expertise, experience and networks to help guide our process. We are constantly seeking new ideas and committed experts who can help us. We view this process as a huge opportunity to learn and hope to share our learning with others as well.

We must continue to challenge ourselves and our managers to stay focused on the long-term fundamentals of impact investing and look for additional positive impact in the environment and social sectors. At the same time, we want to help build this field and create demand for more choices of investment products.

We are very concerned with environmental issues facing the world and feel the investment community has lagged in addressing these important challenges. Sustainable development is a clear focus for us. This does not mean just “Clean Tech”, although that is part of the solution. Focusing on climate change and the questions surrounding sustainability affords us a wide range of opportunities and allows us to engage with many actors including manufacturing companies that need to improve their processes for energy efficiency and waste management, for example. Investing in companies that have the pursuit of social and environmental impact in their DNA is important to us. We are looking for long-term partners not short-term projects. We are learning by doing, and have found it fascinating to see the linkages between so many issues.

RS Group is a new investment initiative; at this stage of its development, we understand our impact to be generated primarily through partnership with the groups in which we are investing our capital. For example, as an investor in Oasis Fund and SVhk — two very different strategies but both creating important value while building the momentum around impact investing. As we plan for the future, we intend to formalize our own point of view regarding how best to assess our firm’s impact as an investor — but also recognize we are in the early stage of our strategy and that in many ways the greatest impact we may have is in investing in organizations which have documented their value-add to our world.

We have learned this approach is neither quick, nor easy, nor black-and-white.  It takes a lot of work to find synergies in a portfolio. However, we have been surprised to find so many ways in which each investment and grant can leverage each other’s impact to create a multiplier effect. The positive impact is truly greater than the sum of any of the component parts. A “purist” approach to either the financial return equation or the “extra-financial” returns does not result in a total portfolio. By taking this approach we are learning to look at the value proposition of each project in a completely new way.

RS Group does not accept unsolicited grant or investment proposals at this time. We work through our partners and network to field and select opportunities.