Spotlight Series: Jennifer Pruett, Vice President, Investments
Foss & Company is comprised of a group of experienced professionals, representing the best in class within their respective fields. In this blog series, we highlight different Foss & Company team members to shine a light on the diverse and dedicated people that help make us who we are.
Jennifer Pruett joined Foss & Company in October 2021 and sources institutional investor capital for placement into Foss sponsored state and federal tax credit funds. Prior to joining Foss, Jennifer spent 20+ years in asset management representing traditional and alternative investment strategies including managed futures, fund-of-hedge funds, CLOs and structured products. In these roles she was responsible for developing strategic growth initiatives, delivering investor education and for expanding firm visibility across institutional and wealth management channels. She graduated from Williams College and has a BA in History.
Get to know Jennifer in the latest Spotlight Series Blog:
How did you get started in the tax credit investing industry?
Completely by accident! After years of working within the asset management industry and specializing in alternative investments, I was approached by Foss & Company for a position on the investor relations team. Despite prior experience working with less traditional, illiquid alternatives I wasn’t particularly familiar with real estate or tax credits. Interestingly, there were some strong parallels between my past roles and the responsibilities at Foss. So much of what we do requires enormous amounts of time and patience; we are often educating clients on the complexities of tax credit investing, including the diverse array of federal and state tax credit programs that are available. There are many intricacies related to the Internal Revenue Code, the impact of pending regulations, and fund structure. Investors tend to see us as a valuable resource as they become more strategic with their tax dollars.
When did you join Foss & Company and what interested you about the company?
I joined Foss in October of 2021. When Bryen Alperin, Managing Director of Renewable Energy & Sustainable Technologies, described how institutions might redirect tax dollars into these high impact projects, claim tax credits and reduce liabilities while earning a return and revitalizing local communities, I asked, “Why wouldn’t a company do this?” The story was so compelling, but I realized there was an “implementation gap” and firms like Foss & Company needed to mobilize a team, perform outreach, and help acclimate investors with these programs. I knew I could contribute meaningfully to this effort.
What do you find important or interesting about tax credits?
They are social engineering tools wielded by state and federal governments to promote investment in high impact projects such as historic rehabilitation, low-income housing, renewables and carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). Many of these projects would never be built if it weren’t for tax equity, so investors should understand the important role they play in perpetuating their construction. Overcoming inhibitors and taking the time to understand the larger-scale impact of tax credit programs, not just to the company’s bottom line, but to the communities in which they do business, should become a standard corporate goal.
What is one thing people may not know about tax credits?
To claim them, you strategically forgo writing a check to the government and instead invest in a single or multiple, well-vetted properties that generate credits and reduce your liability dollar for dollar. The tax credits and incentives are a clear draw, but the accompanying investment returns are equally persuasive! Those who view these opportunities through an investment lens, not just a tax lens, find these opportunities convincing because they can ‘stand alone.’
How has the tax credit investing industry evolved and where do you see it going?
With the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the increase/extension of tax credit programs within the renewables and carbon capture sectors, the government is signaling even greater endorsement of these projects. In the coming years, there may be an influx of new players, all of whom will attempt to capitalize on these increased incentives. With the proliferation of new products, it will become more important for investors to partner with a full-service shop like Foss & Company that can leverage its world class network and properly source, vet, structure and oversee these investments. Lastly, the introduction of transferability will prompt creative ways to bundle transfer credits to suit investor needs.
Any other insights you would like to add?
Within some companies, investment teams and tax teams are often siloed and don’t communicate with one another on opportunities within the tax credit industry. These days, CIOs are often focused on ESG, infrastructure, and alternatives such as real estate. If due diligence has already been performed on these asset classes, then tax professionals might want to leverage these resources when evaluating tax credit programs. A notable person within the industry once told me that the mere term “credits” could be misleading when speaking with those new to the space. The credits are generated by real estate, and investing tax dollars into renewables, for instance, can not only be viewed as an extension of the firm’s investment philosophy, but a great way to capture direct, more pure exposure at arguably less cost. and investing tax dollars into renewables, for instance, can not only be viewed as an extension of the firm’s investment philosophy, but a great way to capture direct, more pure exposure at arguably less cost.
Those interested in getting in contact with Jennifer can contact her at [email protected] or connect with her on LinkedIn.