Eric Hsueh, Director of Investments at Veris, answers a few questions about his career in the financial services industry, his role at Veris, and vision for the future of sustainable, ESG, and impact investing. 

You began your career in traditional financial services roles. How did that experience inform your thinking and ultimately lead to your position as Veris’ Director of Investments?

Eric Hsueh: I’ve spent the bulk of my career in traditional financial services roles where I’ve had multiple roles spanning investment due diligence, portfolio management, and with clients. I learned a lot across all these roles, especially the basic building blocks of investment analysis and creating successful investment programs.

My role at Northern Trust working with clients in the London office early last decade was my initial exposure to the world of sustainable investing. European clients were already incorporating these principles in their investment portfolios, which led me to quickly learn more about the space. As I dived deeper into ESG and sustainable investing, the more it made sense to me. Why wouldn’t a portfolio manager or analyst include these factors as part of a holistic assessment of any investment opportunity? This experience working with European clients planted the seeds for what I wanted to focus on in the next parts of my career. Since then, I have been incredibly fortunate to work at a few firms purpose built for impact like Veris Wealth Partners.

What inspires you most in your work right now?

Eric Hsueh: I’m inspired by our firm’s vocal leadership and action on DEI and devotion to creating a sense of belonging, particularly in the face of the backlash over the past couple of years. To me, this isn’t about ideological preference. ESG, simply stated, is an investment research discipline which need not be politicized, divisive, or represent any ideology.

Diversity has been shown to benefit companies in many ways – if I was a CEO, leadership, or asset allocator, I would argue you’re shirking your fiduciary duties if you don’t think about DEI!

What is your vision for the future of the sustainable, ESG, and impact investing industry?

Eric Hsueh: My vision for the industry is a future where there is no specific delineation between impact investing, sustainable investing, ESG, and traditional investing. It should all just be called investing!

Sustainable and impact investing is being aware of the externalities that affect a business and thinking holistically about them and thinking about the durability of the economic model so that it’s not extractive in any way. ESG analysis enhances the insights provided by traditional, fundamental financial analysis. It does not imply a value judgment.

For example, access to water is fundamental to the business model for a semiconductor company. Therefore, it is critical to assess their approach to usage and conservation of this precious resource. For a mining company, an understanding of community relations is critical. Similarly, for a manufacturing or shipping company, an assessment of their safety protocols is also fundamental. In each case, having robust practices in those areas are key to sustainable business operations.

What does it mean to invest for impact across asset classes? What characteristics do you look for in investment managers?

Eric Hsueh: At Veris, we believe interconnected challenges require an intersectional approach to maximize impact and achieve sustainable, long-term positive impact. Therefore, we seek intentional investment managers with strategies connected to our four core impact investment themes across asset classes. For impact investors to generate measurable non-financial returns, it’s imperative to identify an investment strategy that specifies how intended outcomes will be achieved.

Veris Wealth Partners' approach to impact investing across asset classes

Across both public and private markets, we look for a firm or strategy that has a well-articulated impact thesis or “theory of change”.  A characteristic of leaders in the space is a differentiated impact approach that views ESG analysis as a driver of returns rather than primarily as a risk mitigator.  Other characteristics we look for (but are not limited to) include:

  • Strong buy-in across the organization, especially senior management
  • ESG analysis that is driven by insights from proprietary research rather than reliance on third party data
  • A comprehensive framework to act as active and informed shareholders. Ideally, the framework is applicable across the firm’s various strategies and different asset classes.
  • Strong stewardship and corporate engagement efforts
  • Measurable outcomes where a firm proactively collects and measures their impact.

About Eric Hsueh, CAIA

Eric Hsueh is Director of Investments at Veris Wealth Partners. He is responsible for sourcing, due diligence and monitoring of investments across asset classes, thematic research, capital markets analysis, and impact measurement and management. Eric is a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) charter holder and a member of the CAIA Association and CAIA New York.

To learn more about Eric Hsueh, read his full bio.