This is my last regular column for Citywire RIA, which means it’s time to think about what we’ve learned over the past two years and how we can make use of it.
I’ve used this space to sort through some of the thorniest issues of our time, touching on everything from race to gender and neurodiversity. I’ve also told you a lot about myself, from how my identity as a transgender woman informs my views on inclusion to the lessons my amazing grandmother taught me about how to push for social change effectively.
The theme underlying all of these columns is that it’s impractical and ineffective to consider these issues in isolation. They intersect, shaping the experiences of our clients, colleagues, and communities in non-obvious ways. They have also come with a straightforward takeaway: We have multiple opportunities to make a difference. And we must seize them.
I know these essays have made a difference because of the fantastic conversations I’ve had with readers. We rejoiced together when the CFP Board revised a retrograde policy on advisor bankruptcy and reframed our views on what kind of change is possible in the process. We also learned to set our sights higher, replacing an aspiration for ‘good enough’ with a continuous commitment of our best efforts.
This brings us to what I’m doing next.
I’ve already written in these pages about the steps I’ve taken to ensure that Invest Vegan, the ethics-first asset management firm that I founded this summer, is as inclusive as possible. But I haven’t really explained how it works, what makes it unique, or the possibilities it opens for us to work with each other going forward.
The firm’s name is intended as a two-word mission statement. We seek to invest in companies that avoid preventable harm to living things while making meaningful contributions to a better world for all. That means no slaughterhouses or tanneries, but also no predatory lending, surveillance capitalism, or discriminatory employment practices.
Once I manually screened the landscape of listed companies to eliminate objectionable ones, I applied the fundamental investment principles I learned in almost nine years at the CFA Institute to produce a concentrated portfolio of the most compelling opportunities. The result is a portfolio that is distinctive yet diversified enough to play a core role in clients’ portfolios.
This is crucial because many of the people we are collectively working to include don’t trust the values that underlie most investment options. So they don’t invest at all as a result, miss out on the magic of compounding, and stay poor.</…….