Jeff Ubben will leave ValueAct Capital Partners, the activist investing firm he founded, to launch a new venture around his impact investing fund.
According to a press release, Ubben’s new fund will be called Inclusive Capital Partners. He will assume the title of Chairman Emeritus at VAC upon retirement.
Ubben, who handed over the reins as chief investment officer to protégé Mason Morfit in 2017, said in an interview with the Financial Times newspaper that impact investing and activism could not coexist within the same firm, following a yearslong experiment that has seen him invest in dozens of companies that hope to gain in value by promoting a social or environmental good. Traditional activist investors and Activist Insight Online focus on financial or governance changes to maximize value.
Earlier this year, Ubben said his Spring Fund had grown to over $1 billion in assets. However, according to Ubben, the mission was “confusing” for some of ValueAct’s backers. Some worried that they were being seen as social or environmentally “unconscious” and others worried about missing out on returns, the newspaper reported Ubben as saying.
“I don’t think these two strategies peacefully coexist,” Ubben said.
The convert to long-term investing has been critical of fellow activists in recent years and on Tuesday suggested that those that pushed for consolidation or private equity buyouts would make small returns, while he sought to prove that impact investing would be much more profitable.
“Finance is, like, done,” Ubben told the Financial Times. “Everybody’s bought everybody else with low-cost debt. Everybody’s maximized their margin. They’ve bought all their shares back…There’s nothing there. Every industry has about three players. Elizabeth Warren is right.”