Family office of the year: Wermuth Asset Management

German family office and investment advisory firm Wermuth Asset Management (AM) was a key driver behind the creation of a 'climate endowment' which last year launched a hydropower impact fund targeting €500 million ($588 million) in investments.

Jochen Wermuth, principal and founder of Wermuth AM, was a core part of the team that launched the Climate Endowment in June 2019, an organisation looking to replicate the alternative investment strategies of Harvard and Yale universities to produce renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Last year it revealed that it had begun work to follow the hydropower fund with a €500 million forestry fund, as the innovative concept gathered momentum in its drive for positive climate impact.

Wermuth, who is also on the investment committee of Germany's €24 billion sovereign wealth fund KENFO, predicted the Climate Endowment could eventually grow to about €40 billion in size.

Wermuth AM also manages two 'Green Growth Funds' (GGF), which typically invest between €5 million and €30 million each in portfolios of about 12-15 companies mostly in the EU, to drive what it calls the "green industrial revolution". The most recent of these funds, GGF2, targets a financial return of more than 20% per annum and a net positive environmental impact.

As part of its broader field-building in its native Germany, the asset manager also co-hosts the Berlin Green Investment Summit, alongside impact investor network Toniic, the Institutional Investor Group on Climate Change and others. The event was run virtually following the outbreak of Covid-19.