Investing to Protect the Commons

Annie Chen, Chair and Founder, RS Group

When Annie Chen, founder and chair of Hong Kong-based RS Group, started wher family office in 2010, her mission was to demonstrate that wealth should be managed with purpose to create positive impact for as many people as possible.

“Why commit to 100% impact investments?” asks Annie, a Toniic 100% Network investor,

“To invest in the future we want to create. To protect the commons upon which all life depends. To demonstrate that capital can be deployed with a higher purpose beyond financial return.”

Supported by a team of local staff and international advisors, Annie set out to transition her legacy investments into a portfolio that fulfilled her sustainability criteria. RS Group takes a “Total Portfolio Approach”, deploying capital to a diverse range of asset classes—listed equity, fixed income, private equity, direct investments, and strategic philanthropic grants—to support its mission.


In 2016, Annie and RS Group released an impact report—the first of its kind in Asia—that made transparent the philosophy, management approach, and financial and impact returns of a 100% impact portfolio. The decision to publicize details of the family office’s work was driven by the desire to advocate and build a regional impact investing sector.

“We hope that, by sharing our story, we may inspire and empower others to embrace positive change through their own actions”

says Annie. “Our goal is to raise awareness and attract more purposeful wealth owners, in particular family offices and foundations, to join us on this journey.”

One common trait of Toniic members is their drive to create mission-driven communities. RS Group saw a need to build a stronger ecosystem for sustainable finance in Hong Kong, and in 2018 it launched the Sustainable Finance Initiative (SFi), a platform for private investors to learn, connect and invest together as a community, with a mission to mobilize private capital for positive impact and accelerate Hong Kong’s transition towards a sustainable finance hub.


Today, in the face of pressing challenges presented by the climate crisis, Annie feels even greater urgency to put RS Group’s capital into protecting “the commons.”

Therefore, RS Group is exploring how blended finance mechanisms can capitalize natural capital projects, funds and initiatives in Asia, increase investment opportunities in these projects, and help develop the region’s natural capital investing ecosystem. Annie also calls for cross-sector collaboration in order to address climate and environmental issues in Hong Kong and Asia.

“Why are we still consumed with economic growth and preserving wealth, when our planet is faced with an existential crisis due to human activity?” Annie asks. “The capital system needs to change course today to ensure we have a chance at survival, before we reach the tipping point and lose any possibility of a liveable planet tomorrow.”