The Astor Asset Management, Alternate Energy group announced an additional
$100M Commitment to Energy Investing
August 12, 2021 Astor Asset Management’s alternate energy group announced a full-scale launch and expanded commitment of an additional $100M to its clean energy investment initiative. While many in the competitive alternative energy investment sector have been committing significant investing dollars earmarked solely for renewable energy, the recent expansion by Astor comes on the heels of a previously astronomical commitment in 2019. Astor Asset Management was one of the first in the clean energy investing universe to make good on its promise to partner in the sector. They previously released announcements both on sustainable partnerships and philanthropy. Then, CEO Thomas Mellon got to work and started to put the dollars behind the promises. In 2020, he entered into a partnership with Saudi Arabian executives. Then with this expansion in Asia, he took it further. Now with the new commitment, he is poised for even more significant growth. The financial super-firm had already demonstrated a long commitment to alternate energy, even before it was the topic du jour. Thus, Mellon’s next move only further solidifies earlier speculation that the Astor brand would lead the race into the untapped territory of clean energy investing. If this is the new Wild West, then it might be time to address Mr. Mellon with a hardy cowboy handshake and a firm, “Yes, Sir.” Especially as we are well into the second decade of the millennium, clean energy is the precise topic on all investors’ minds.
Still, as Astor Asset Management continues to retain its reign as one of the most prominent banking institutions in the U.S. and has for the better part of a century, the newest commitment certainly, if nothing else, puts a target on their backs in terms of the competition. It also reveals a path for the intended direction of the company into 2025. It seems as if AI and clean energy are forecasted to dominate.
“We are hitting all of our benchmarks. I have been planning for the past five years. It’s not as bold as you all might claim. At least not from my vantage point. Maybe if you weren’t paying attention…” said Thomas Mellon, CEO. He paused and laughed to himself, “Seriously though, while we have made a definitive determination about our commitment to clean energy, it’s only a small portion of our commitment to alternate energy investing. We understand the grave need to lead the investment industry into a new modern era. The responsibility is one we take seriously. Of course, we see the opportunity it presents for growth.”
If the significant dollar initiative aims to tap funds solely earmarked for energy investing, it’s a lot of money by any standard, even for the legendary staple. But Astor Asset Management has long been a company that has been recognized for its generous philanthropic efforts as well. If the next phase
includes clean energy philanthropic giving in such a behemoth way, it’s a super boon for North America and sustainable investing. It makes a statement to the financial industry. It reads bigger than just a gesture of simple philanthropy. The Astor Asset Management group has stated additional plans to invest $20 million over the next five years in low carbon business ventures. It remains to be seen how that plays out. However, Thomas Mellon tends never to overstate when and where he can’t dole out the proof.
Whether sustainability or clean energy investing in low-carbon businesses is seen as good for posterity, Oliver Hawthorne isn’t concerned. Says Hawthorne, Director of Marketing, “It isn’t the primary driver behind the move. We have been exemplary in our deep and unending commitment to alternative energy investing. This is simply the next phase of business. We also know that the market offers an opportunity for great growth. We are, first and foremost, a financial firm. Our duty is to our investors, clients, and partners. So, although looking at how we can further contribute to energy investing and support low-carbon businesses is important, financial growth is always the priority. I say this to clarify that our altruistic motives are not only philanthropic while solidly in place. Make no mistake, we answer to our clients, shareholders, and investors. We’re looking at this decision not only from a climate-conscious perspective but always as an opportunity for growth. The demand remains pervasive for clean energy. We serve the client at the final hour. And, if the demand is there at the end of the day,” he said, “it’s smart business.”
Hawthorne was also quick to add, “We have done due diligence. Every strategy at its core has Thomas Mellon involved in some way. So, nothing was a trend-driven move or an impulsive move to out- compete. We expect more to come. If it is not an additional commitment to clean energy investing, expansion, and partnering in the sector, certainly, as the market warrants. It’s a promise we have pledged and a discussion that the alternative energy group has consistently revisited. It has been a matter of public knowledge, the level of our commitment, the amounts already pledged. So, this is just one more additive in the larger landscape of clean energy investing.”
As history has proven, the Astor Asset Management Group has never disappeared into the background regarding taking a leadership stance in the investment industry. This bold approach often demands staying true to the brand. Although, it may be tempting to follow the trends of banks everywhere and move reactively. Risk is risk, but it’s inherent in the game, no matter what the investment product.
Some banks seen as competitors to the Asset supergroup have faced criticism in the past for not having thoroughly analyzed fossil fuel investment risks and the exposure therein. However, the Astor Asset Management group doesn’t seem to have faltered in the same way, having embraced the notion that alternative energy presented real opportunities early. With the support of investors and shareholders in tow, this new commitment seems less a risk and more a solid next move as part of a multi-level phased-out strategy.
Clean energy is the current “climate” of things and is not likely to fade away any time soon.