Dual Perspectives

VERGE Capital Sits down with Fred Steciuk, Senior VP of Highstreet Asset Management for His Take on Social Enterprise and Impact Investing

VERGE Capital had the pleasure of interviewing Fred Steciuk, Senior VP of Highstreet Asset Management and a valued member of the VERGE team. Steciuk has amassed an impressive 18+ years in the field of finance where he has focused on investment analysis and portfolio management. Together with others from the VERGE team, he has worked tirelessly to provide invaluable support that has helped shape the future of VERGE. As such, we believe Steciuk to be a Shifter — he is directly involved in culture shifting initiatives which seek to evolve both the way investments are made and viewed. Rather than viewing investments as a means for profit alone, he is of the same opinion as we are, in that they can be used as a means to generate positive social impact in communities. Individuals like Steciuk are both valuable and encouraging in our goal of local investment for local impact and because of this, we believe it is important to highlight both his work and journey with VERGE.

Steciuk was first introduced to VERGE through friends at Pillar Nonprofit Network. Initially, he was attracted to the VERGE initiative because to him, it was investing at a higher level. Impressed both by the dedication of the VERGE team to further community growth as well as the challenge of evaluating Return on Investment (ROI) in conjunction with social return, Steciuk saw a means through which traditional methods of financing were undergoing a steady remodeling, allowing it to extend its reach beyond profit alone to firmly grasp the reigns of positive social change. Steciuk stated:

“Within a few months of learning about VERGE, I realized it could be a conduit for social change the way its partners are”

VERGE partners include the Sisters of St. Joseph, United Way London & Middlesex, Libro Credit Union and the London Community Foundation. While each organization has their own means through which to influence social change, Steciuk was enthused by the blending of strategies and methodologies which ultimately led to the flourishing of VERGE.

Being that VERGE is a social finance initiative, it seemed only appropriate that Steciuk be asked to provide his definition of what social finance and impact investing were. He began by stating that to him it was a new area of growth, and expanded upon that by explaining the ways in which a shift in thought process and the way one approaches investments was key when attempting to evaluate ROI’s whilst simultaneously measuring social impact. As the interview continued, it became clear that the duality of perspectives between traditional methods of financing and its associated strategies combined with the current and growing concern for social impact was what intrigued Steciuk. “VERGE mixes the new and the old. It supports business ideas in the form of financing, counselling and capital”, says Steciuk, the only difference being that VERGE supports business ideas which have a social or environmental mission at their core. This blended approach is one of the reasons Steciuk is invested in VERGE, and we as an organization are proud to have attracted such talent.

Steciuk believes that through a strong investment review process combined with mission driven business model support, VERGE can guide successful impact investments and provide more confidence for foundations and individuals to allocate a small portion of their capital towards mission based investments.

In conclusion to our very first Shifter profile, we would like to extend a sincere thank you to Steciuk for his many efforts to further VERGE and our mission. While we are confident that our future endeavors will see many successes, we understand that they are only made possible by people like himself who share a willingness to perceive the potential of impact investments through the eyes of a social investor. He hopes that his involvement with VERGE will give others the confidence they need to get in on the impact investing trend. Having seen first-hand the dedication and desire to move forward by business owners of the first four social enterprises supported by VERGE thus far, he is steadfast in his desire to see more like them, and for us, his confidence makes all the difference, and we look forward to continuing our work with him. Thanks Fred.

Written By: Sara Dhurjon