Cooperative Economics | "Impact-First" Investing | Transformative Leadership

Real Talk about our Financial Advisors ++

Racial Equity & Fiduciary Duty

Review this Mindful Fiduciaries report.

Specifically spend some time with this visual from page 13:

Questions for Discussion

  • Where do you find yourself on this map?
  • What part of the journey are you hoping to advance most for yourself?
  • What do next steps look like for you in relationship to your peers?

The USCCB socially responsible investment guidelines & a Catholic Investment Services discussion of them

  • Review the Nov 2021 update to the USCCB Guidelines.
  • Review the recent Catholic Investment Services’ USCCB Guidelines Webinar.
  • Listen in particular to Bernard’s comments about how our IPS should be an expression of our faith.
    • What resonates with you? Where do you feel discord or unease?
    • Where do you yearn for more?
  • How do we as people of bold faith and action live this out?
  • In what ways could we work more proactively together?
  • What ways do you see we could be in closer relationship to each other around these questions?

Real Talk about our Advisors

A common challenge we hear as we work with folks on their journey towards Mission-driven investing is the challenge of working with their advisors. What we observe is that when we as asset owners become more convicted about impact investing or trying to take a different approach than the normal well-trod paths in traditional finance, we find ourselves in challenging conversations with advisors or creating friction that can feel uncomfortable and difficult.

Even with the growth of ESG and negative screening, many asset stewards are looking to go beyond these practices. 

What do those next steps look like when our advisors / managers / fiduciaries have less incentive to forge a new path? 

What is our role as the asset owner in asking questions that push our advisors to help us? 

Let’s take a moment to empathize with our asset managers. Does it make sense for them to help us think about these Mission-Driven Investing questions?  Why or Why not? 

Is there a business case we make about why this might be a growing segment of the market in finance? Are there some advisors that are defining themselves as being more proactive about impact as integrated across asset classes?

One thing we hear from advisors is the rather narrow understanding of impact investing as community development financial institutions or concessionary private debt investments, or affordable housing. While each of these strategies are a form of impact investing that have been more widely available over the past few decades, the past few years have seen a proliferation of impact funds with a wider variety of strategies. Few advisors are tuned into this landscape. Often, it’s not because of a lack of interest, it’s more related to the incentive structures that exist for them. When we start with empathizing with their position, can we enter into more effective conversations that advance our interests of being mission-driven?

One thing we’re trying to promote is an anchoring in what a “north star” vision of what impact investing might look like. 

What is the boldest embodiment of our faith that we could imagine with impact investing? 

That’s the origin of this Livable Future Investing spectrum (5-min video).

When we name a north star we can begin to see that there is a journey towards an investment portfolio that feels fully embodied and a clearer expression of our faith. 

The more we can take a concrete step towards a specific action that actualizes that — even with a tiny fraction of our portfolio — we have a greater imagination for the many other steps we can take.

Discussion Question

  • What is a next step you’d like to take in conversation with your advisor?
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