Impact and Innovation

The passion driving WAIN Street comes from the conviction that the data and insights we create will help “Bridge Wall Street and Main Street.” We believe that financial techniques can be used for the greater purpose of fueling mid-market and small businesses to create jobs, innovate, and regain our economic prowess. Enabling Wall Street to meet the needs of Main Street is where we get our energy and our name.

The role of financial innovation naturally gets pulled into this discussion and, as WAIN Street has touched on before in this blog, we believe in a measured approach – a perspective that we share with many luminaries such as Robert Shiller and Masaaki Shirakawa. Viewing financial innovation as a tool for creating value, while always being vigilant to its pitfalls is a reality of our modern global economy.

In a recent Special Report, Playing with Fire, The Economist uses the example of “social impact bonds” to illustrate the possibility of harnessing traditional financial techniques for socially beneficial outcomes.  In the article’s example the social benefit was reduction in prison rates.

None would argue with our suggestion that we can better meet the needs of mid-market customers by tweaking current financial products. By extending that reasoning further, we believe the same techniques that created the much-maligned mortgage backed security and enabled credit default swaps can be reconfigured to fuel mid-market and small businesses. This is what we mean by bridging Wall Street capabilities to Main Street needs.  It’s an opportunity we can hardly afford to ignore.

Financial innovation has the potential for positive impact; we have to get the details right, and Wall Street finance can be a tool that drives multiple levels of return. In the same tradition of impact investment, social entrepreneurship, and triple bottom line reporting, WAIN Street believes in “Bridging Wall Street and Main Street” and the power it has to bring value to some of the most important businesses in our economy.

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