Webinar Series: Align your Investments with your Values
Global finance is an opaque landscape for individual investors. All too often, our investments can end up tied to socially and environmentally harmful industries, without our knowledge. How can we empower ourselves to act in this sphere, and direct our money toward worthy and positive businesses?
If you long to operate with integrity in all parts of your life but feel under-equipped or bewildered by the idea of aligning your investments with your values, the EK4T webinar series is a chance to empower yourself by learning essential portfolio management skills and link your financial resources with local resilience.
In this webinar series you will learn basic concepts of portfolio management, how to include non-financial considerations when evaluating investments, and how to enlist your investments in supporting what you value.
I can’t remember the last time I participated in something as deeply thought-provoking as Marco’s course. He weaves a cohesive narrative that ties together the workings of our financial system and the state of the natural environment, and the impact we have on these systems (both as individuals and financial planners). As someone who is well-versed in capital markets, I was particularly interested in Marco’s exploration of the assumptions which underlie our financial thinking – both those that we currently use and those we don’t. And when we upend the assumptions, where does it leave us? Marco answers these questions with analytical rigor and elegant simplicity.
The first webinar will reveal how the narrow focus of conventional finance leads to damaging unintended consequences. We will explore more caring alternatives to investing and the concept of Slow Money.
- From abstract math to finance
- Awakening to the problem – the story of a forest
- Natural capital at risk
- Slow Money
- From greed and fear to biophilia and empathy
- Examples of aligned investments
In this first webinar I will tell my personal journey from global finance to Slow Money which began when the story 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 imagine a portfolio inspired by biophilia and empathy instead of by greed and fear.
The second webinar will reveal the origin of investment capital and how its continuous growth is incompatible with a finite planet therefore compelling us towards a more holistic approach to investing.
- The carbon math
- The virtual and the real
- Money creation and the origin of investment capital
- The source of financial returns
- Bringing money down to Earth
In the second webinar we will expand on the intuition gained in the first webinar and look specifically at the carbon math and its implications for the market valuation of oil companies. We will also look at the concept of financial intensity and realize 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. 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.
Site members can view this webinar now. Click here to view (or join and view).
The third webinar will introduce the Personal Investment Compass (PIC) idea, explain key concepts of portfolio management, assess your risk profile, challenge assumptions of capital market expectations, and look at the reasons for including local and direct investments in personal portfolios.
- Building your Personal Investment Compass (PIC)
- Key concepts of portfolio management
- Financial and non-financial returns/benefits
- Liquidity and diversification
- Self-assessment: liquidity needs and ability to bear risk
- Determining prudent allocation to local/direct investing
- The chimera of capital market expectations
- Insufficient diversification (size and geography)
- The why of local investing
The third webinar will introduce explore various examples of PICs and explain key concepts of portfolio management like risk, return, liquidity and diversification. Unlike traditional portfolio management we will integrate an understanding of both financial and non-financial 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 local and direct investing in 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 a poor basis for predicting returns in the next 10 to 15 years. We will then look at the reasons to include some local and direct investing in one’s personal portfolio.
The fourth webinar will explore functions and challenges of securities laws, the recent changes that are opening up the field of direct local investing to the general public, and ways to move beyond conventional finance.
- What is direct investing?
- 5 min on securities laws
- Understanding non-financial risk
- Local investing as “livable future insurance”
- Investing vs. purchasing livable future insurance
- Beyond the narrow lens of conventional finance
- Report from 8 years of direct and local investing – lessons learned
In the fourth webinar we will explore direct investing and understand both the function of securities laws, the challenges they present to local investing and the recent changes that are opening up the field of direct local investing to the general public. I will argue for the importance of a conceptual reframing of local and direct investing as buying “livable future insurance” and how thinking of it as a spending decision will both ensure we do it in a financially prudent way and reduce the paralyzing fear of making “mistakes”. We will put into practice the idea of moving beyond the narrow lens of conventional finance by bringing non-financial consideration in the process of evaluating investments. I will then share my personal experience and lessons learned doing local and direct investing over the past 8 years.
The last webinar will look at due diligence, help with assessing investment risk, explore an integrated whole-person approach to due diligence, and offer an opportunity to join a community of practice.
- Assessing risk level
- Factors affecting risk level: longevity, stage of development, type of investment
- Assessing risk level for equity investments
- Assessing risk level for secured debt
- Assessing risk level for unsecured debt
- A whole-person approach to due diligence: heart, mind and gut
- Joining a community of practice
In the last webinar we will dive deep into due diligence. We will look at the traditional checklist of factors considered by investment professionals when doing due diligence on a potential investment. I will then present a simple model for characterizing the risk of an investment in an enterprise based on its longevity, stage of development and investment structure. Finally, we will look at an integrated whole-person approach to due diligence that integrates our personal values (PIC) and involves not only our mind but also our heart and our gut in the process. You will be given an opportunity to join a community of practice – people who have attended my workshop in the past and assisted each other in the process of aligning one’s investments with one’s values.