For-profit

First Affirmative Financial Network

Formation:

1988

CEO:

George Gray

Parent Company:

Folio Financial

First Affirmative Financial Network is a financial firm that focuses on called “sustainable, responsible and impact investing.” It was founded in 1988. Its parent company is Folio Financial.

Background

First Affirmative Financial Network is a financial advisory firm that specializes in what is called “sustainable, responsible and impact [SRI] investing.” First Affirmative, founded in 1988, says it oversees more than $1 billion in assets and works with more than 400 SRI specialists. [1] Two years after its founding, First Affirmative financed the first SRI Conference in 1990. [2]

Folio Financial bought First Affirmative in 2016. [3] The next year, Folio Financial and First Affirmative established SRI Community as a way of increasing the number of individuals and companies involved in investments that promote a left-of-center policy on the environment, public health, and safety. [4]

The SRI for the company includes investment portfolios with no investments in oil or gas, plastic products, paper products, or fast food. The firm also offers funds that allow investors to address human rights, international armed conflicts, racial discrimination, gender identity, poverty, guns, tobacco, alcohol, and animal welfare. The firm also allows investors to focus on companies with ethical and diverse corporate governance.  [5]

In July 2018, B Lab, which certifies companies that seek to solve social and environmental problems, honored the firm as “Best for the World: Customers.” The company got the same award in 2016. In 2012, B Lab presented First Affirmative with the Best for the World: Workers award. [6]

First Affirmative has been involved in shareholder resolutions to force a company to adopt a policy. The company opposed a proposed Securities and Exchange Commission rule in November 2019 to restrict shareholder activism in companies by small stockholders, saying it could create a “chilling effect.” [7]

Company Management

George R. Gay is the CEO. He is a 1974 graduate of West Point. He became a certified financial planner while in the military. He hosted the SRI Conference since 1990. He won the 1997 SRI Service Award. [8]

Amy Thacker has been the chief operating officer since 2018. She was previously a vice president at T. Rowe Price’s retirement plan. [9]

Kathleen J. Lewis is the vice president and chief compliance officer. She has been with the firm since 1990, and named chief compliance officer in 2004. [10]

Theresa Gusman is the chief investment officer since 2018. She previous founded Endurance, LLC. She also previously worked at Deutsche Bank. [11]

Julie McNamara is the senior vice president, and worked at the company since 1993. She previously worked for Milwaukee-area brokerage firms Blunt Ellis & Loewi, Brokerage Clearance Services, and Kemper Clearing Corp. [12]

Mel Miller is the chief economist and has been with the company since 2012. He was previously the chief investment officer for Heartland Financial USA, Inc. He also once worked as chairman of the department of accounting and business at Loras College. [13]

References

  1. About Us. Accessed November 21, 2019. https://www.firstaffirmative.com/about-us ^
  2. About Us. Accessed November 21, 2019. https://www.firstaffirmative.com/about-us ^
  3. “Loring Ward Added to Folio Financial’s Third Party Model Manager Exchange.” The Central Virginian. November 14, 2019. Accessed November 21, 2019. https://www.thecentralvirginian.com/news/state/loring-ward-added-to-folio-financial-s-third-party-model/article_835237b4-9993-53dd-b2af-b10a13dcb2e8.html ^
  4. About Us. Accessed November 21, 2019. https://www.firstaffirmative.com/about-us ^
  5. About Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing. Accessed November 21, 2019. https://www.firstaffirmative.com/responsible-investing/ ^
  6. Press Release. “First Affirmative Financial Network Honored as Best for the World Company for Creating Positive Impact for Workers, Environmental and Community.” PR Newswire. July 5, 2018. Accessed November 21, 2019. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/first-affirmative-financial-network-honored-as-a-best-for-the-world-company-for-creating-positive-impact-for-workers-environment-and-community-300676618.html ^
  7. Kishan, Saijel and Chasan, Emily. “Silence the Nun: The SEC Aims to Curb Small Investors’ Activism.” The Seattle Times. November 15, 2019. Accessed November 21, 2019. https://www.seattletimes.com/business/silencing-the-nun-sec-aims-to-curb-small-investors-activism/ ^
  8. Leadership Team. Accessed November 21, 2019. https://www.firstaffirmative.com/about-us/leadership-team/leadership-team ^
  9. Leadership Team. Accessed November 21, 2019. https://www.firstaffirmative.com/about-us/leadership-team/leadership-team ^
  10. Leadership Team. Accessed November 21, 2019. https://www.firstaffirmative.com/about-us/leadership-team/leadership-team ^
  11. Leadership Team. Accessed November 21, 2019. https://www.firstaffirmative.com/about-us/leadership-team/leadership-team ^
  12. Leadership Team. Accessed November 21, 2019. https://www.firstaffirmative.com/about-us/leadership-team/leadership-team ^
  13. Leadership Team. Accessed November 21, 2019. https://www.firstaffirmative.com/about-us/leadership-team/leadership-team ^
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