Holding Company Working Group

January 2016 - December 2017

The Holding Company Working Group explores the appropriateness of holdco models and other open-ended structures as a potential solution to liquidity and other challenges in impact investing.


As a field-building organization dedicated to scaling the impact investing industry, the GIIN is committed to working with impact investors to address market and practice-oriented challenges by facilitating dialogue, action, and the development of new products and market infrastructure. To this end, the GIIN convenes members in the Holdco Working Group to provide space for discussion and experimentation around alternative investment structures like holding companies.

Key Objectives and Activities

The Holdco Working Group aimed to understand whether, how, and under what circumstances a holding company model could be more widely used to address liquidity and other challenges facing the impact investing sector. The Working Group engages GIIN members to:

  • Deepen understanding of prospective investor and investee demand and expectations with respect to investing in holding company structures, to further inform the design of sound investment vehicles;
  • Catalog and share learnings from existing holding company models in the impact investing sector and beyond, to understand how these structures are performing and to bridge knowledge gaps in underlying issues for which holding company structures aim to solve;
  • Develop and test proposals for different types of holding companies that respond to specific needs or challenges, with the goal of building a healthy ecosystem for impact investing.

The Working Group explored two specific areas of inquiry with regard to the use of holdco structures in impact investing: 

  1. Supply-Side Considerations: Investor Preferences and Requirements for Open-ended Structures. The sub-group aimed to understand investor appetite for open-ended structures across a range of investor types (including institutional investors, foundations, family offices, DFIs, and others). Activities included conducting primary research with investors, prototyping holdco models and liquidity mechanisms, and testing and iterating models with investor focus groups.

GIIN members leading this work include: Accion Venture Lab, Bridges Ventures, Enclude, Kois Invest, Pegasus Capital, Orrick, TIAA, Unitus Impact, and Triodos Investment Management. 

  1. Demand-side Considerations: Appropriateness of Holdco Models for Early-Stage Investing. The sub-group aimed to understand whether and how holdco models could serve as an alternative to the typical closed-ended fund structure to support the growth of early-stage enterprises. Activities included a market scan of existing and conceived holdco models targeting early-stage investing, primary research with managers of these investment companies, and the development of case studies to illustrate the design and performance of specific terms and features.

GIIN members leading this work included: Accion, D. Capital, DOEN Foundation, Enterprise Community Partners, Impacto Capital, Omidyar Network, Unitus Impact, and USAID.

Advisory Committee

An Advisory Committee composed of six GIIN member organizations with experience and expertise vis-à-vis holdco models provided guidance and leadership over the Working Group. Advisory Committee members included: Bridges Ventures, DOEN Foundation, Enclude, John D. and Catherine MacArthur Foundation, Skopos Impact Fund, and TIAA.

For more information on the GIIN Holding Company Working Group, please contact the Membership Team at networkmembership@thegiin.org.

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