Toussaint Bailey was several years into a partnership at a law firm when he got the wealth management bug after helping his to-be brother-in-law craft a business plan for a new RIA after he departed Edward Jones in 2014.
Soon, Bailey changed careers and joined the team, becoming CEO of Enso Wealth Management. Bailey always had been active in supporting issues and causes near to his heart, though typically not through his work. But in 2020, he led a number of dialogues with other wealth firms about how to have better conversations on race and diversity in the workplace. Bailey said he was struck by how empowered he felt by engaging with what mattered to him.
“I realized at that point, there’s no way I’m going to go back to just doing wealth management, and doing this on the side,” he said. “So, I started to take steps to combine the two.”
This inspiration resulted in the launch of Uplifting Capital earlier this year. The firm strives to bring values-informed investing into the private-markets space. Bailey said he was inspired by the work his friends at Ethic did in public markets, and as he saw investors “stampeding” toward the private markets, Bailey believed that same experience should also exist there.
“Private wealth, in one way or another, will change the shape and direction of the private markets. It already is in terms of the products coming out and all of those things,” Bailey said. “With that, there’s an opportunity to make private investing or alternative investing more impactful or inclusive without compromising financial returns.”
Bailey says Uplifting’s strategy was structured on providing “scalable personalization” via a private markets sleeve that made sense for high-net-worth individuals and small foundations alike. After an investor partners with Uplifting, the team can “lean” their funds in the direction of one (or several) of nine “impact themes” (including diversity, equity and inclusion, health and wellness and education, to name a few) based on that investor’s preferences.
Bailey says that it is as important to see diverse managers as it is to make private investments more impactful (Uplifting is a minority-owned and majority-women-led firm). The firm works to find solid managers and directly invests both in funds and with entrepreneurs. Uplifting also built evaluation frameworks to pick partners without relying solely on due diligence protocols demanding track records spanning decades, according to Bailey.
“Asset management won’t become more inclusive if you continue to rely on metrics that require people to have been here before,” he said.