The course Toward Aware and No-Harm Investing is for people who care and are actively engaged in making the world a better place but whose financial resources might not be fully aligned with their personal values and what they care deeply about.
The course is designed to help individual investors gain an understanding of the importance and urgency of moving toward aware and no-harm investing, and provide the tools and options to do so.
Toward Aware and No-Harm Investing is offered in October 2023 through 5 live and interactive 90 minute Zoom sessions, some reading material and assignments.
This course will help you connect the dots – you will:
- Understand the role our investments play in creating some of the largest societal challenges we collectively face and why we need to change our financial system
- Understand the money creation process, the banking sector’s incentives and activities, the role and actions of the central bank and how they affect investing
- Reevaluate traditional expectations of markets returns in view of current reality
- Understand the role finance has played in shaping the geopolitics of the last five centuries worldwide
- Realize the importance of the non-financial impact of all our investments so you can make more holistic decisions about your investments
As a result you will be able to:
- Integrate non-financial considerations and personal values into your personal portfolio management process
- Determine the prudent portfolio allocation to Restorative Investing™
- Learn about a number of no-harm, Positive and Restorative Investment™ options
- Develop your Personal Investment Compass (PIC) and build your restorative investing portfolio by the end of the course
- Connect with a group of like-minded individuals moving their money in a more healthy direction for society and the world at large
I took Marco’s course Towards Aware and No-Harm Investing with my father — me, a social justice and financial activist, him a Harvard MBA. Marco’s teaching style was accessible for both of us, and allowed me and my dad to come together around topics that might have been harder to make palatable on my own! It led to rich conversations about risk and returns, social impact and how to discern between gifts and investments. I’d recommend this for other families looking to meet in the middle on how their values shape their investment decisions.
In this first session I will introduce the concept of the Great Turning and share my personal journey from global finance to no-harm investing which began when the destruction of a forest awoke me to the problems of conventional finance. We will look at an important 15-year study by the UN called “Natural Capital at Risk” showing how we have been using natural capital to subsidize our global economic activity and financial returns. We will then explore the themes and ethos of Slow Money which urges us to “bring money down to Earth” and invest with the ultimate goal of restoring soil fertility. We will then look at the psychology of investing and suggest options for building a portfolio inspired by biophilia and empathy instead of greed and fear.
In the second session we will expand on the intuition gained in the first session and look at the concept of financial intensity to highlight the disconnect between the amount of investment capital around the world and the finite limits of our biosphere. We will discover the unlikely origin of investment capital by understanding the basics of the money and banking system, and the impact of money creation on the business cycle and asset bubbles. We will look at the heroic liquidity maneuvers of the Federal Reserve since 2008, but especially in 2020 and the resulting manipulation of financial markets. As we recognize the virtual and constructed nature of money and investment capital we will realize the importance of moving beyond the narrow lens of conventional finance and considering the true impact of our investments.
The third session will explain key concepts of portfolio management like risk, return, and liquidity and introduce a holistic approach that integrates an understanding of both financial and non-financial aspects of risks and returns. You will be able to assess your own liquidity needs and your ability to bear risk which will determine your prudent allocation to the restorative investing component of your portfolio. I will then challenge some of the assumptions made by financial professionals especially in relation to capital market expectations and show that past returns of major asset classes (types of investments like stocks and bonds) are currently a poor basis for predicting returns in the next 10 to 15 years.
In the fourth session I will introduce the concept of a Personal Investment Compass and provide various examples. You will create your own PIC and use it to guide the future transformation of your portfolio. I will introduce a new classification of investments based on the awareness dimension – unaware (most likely extractive), aware, no-harm, positive (impact) and restorative (regenerative). I will share how I transformed my portfolio into a 100% aware and no-harm portfolio, half of which is in Positive and Restorative Investments™.
In the fifth session I will introduce the concept of Restorative Investing™ at the intersection of philanthropy and investing. I will then share with you the surprising path to true financial freedom. You will be introduced to a number of positive and restorative investments. You will build your (small) restorative investing portfolio and relate it to your Personal Investment Compass . You will have an opportunity to connect with your course mates and take the next concrete step towards an investment portfolio that supports life and societal and environmental health.
I signed up for Marco's class devoid of even the most basic knowledge about investing. Even though some of the talking points went over my head (some of the other attendees were more versed in finances or had taken other Marco courses/talks before), I still got what I really needed -- to be educated on some of the basics of how the larger economy works and to discover some ethical/productive alternative resources to invest in that someone more savvy than I am had already investigated into. The reading (especially about natural resources) was illuminating and the assignments were thought provoking and on point. Marco explains subjects very well and is accessible and personable.
An unexpected benefit of taking this during COVID semi-lockdown and during a stressful news cycle was getting to spend 90 minutes a week with other people seeking a way to try to make the world a little bit better place where they could. Taking the class ended up being both an education and a morale boost. "So shines a good deed in a naughty world."
Marco Vangelisti, CFA is a 100% Aware and No-Harm investor with a longstanding commitment to Positive and Restorative Investing™. He is a founding member of Slow Money and has been on the leadership team of the Slow Money Northern California Network from its inception to 2020. Prior to his shift in focus towards no-harm, positive and restorative investing, he spent 20 years in the finance industry, where he managed investment equity portfolios on behalf of large foundations and endowments and developed statistical risk models for equity and fixed income markets around the world. Marco was a Fulbright scholar in Mathematics and Economics at the University of California in Berkeley, earned an MBA at the Milan-based “Enrico Mattei” school in his native Italy, and a Master of Fine Arts at the intersection of public art and ecology in the U.S. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and taught portfolio management, asset allocation, performance analysis, and risk analysis at the San Francisco CFA Institute for 12 years. He is dedicated to democratizing financial literacy and no-harm investing. For additional information, please visit his website, ek4t.com.
So thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in another of Marco’s highly rated courses.
Well thought through fact-based scenarios, interesting examples, and Marco’s personal stories position course takers to reconsider everything they think they know about Wall Street investments. Through the course we found our risk tolerance for a new investment strategy and analyzed our current portfolios using our newly learned clarifying lens that accounts for subsidies and often hidden harm. Finally, we dug in to develop an individual new economy investment compass and then implement the ideas in a small portfolio.
Over the 5 weekly meetings, Marco offers a much needed holistic approach that knowledgeably addresses both the problems with the Business as Usual financial paradigm and suggests opportunities and solutions in the emerging new economy. It was great to join both everyday community folks wanting to make a difference with their investments as well as seasoned financial professionals interested in learning a values-based investment approach. I have taken Marco’s workshop, but this deeper dive was a timely review and expanded on some of his earlier ideas. We also had more time to create and implement our strategies. I loved this course and found it well worth the time and effort. Highly recommend!