Ep. 14 - How aware of investment harm are you?

Ep. 14 - How aware of investment harm are you?

Hear Marco Vangelisti, CFA, Founder of EK4T and Founding member of Slow Money, share his experience in shifting to 100% aware and no-harm investing.

Gabe Rissman

When Marco Vangelisti first started in finance, he was part of a Quant Team using performance analysis tools and optimization packages for Wall Street portfolio managers. 

Soon after, Marco managed investment equity portfolios on behalf of large foundations and endowments and was part of a $20 Billion emerging market equities, long-only, strategy that had the best 10-year track record at the time, and outperformed their index by 13%. His model worked, and the team delivered fantastic returns to his clients, including environmental foundations.

However, as time went on and Marco explored the stocks behind the portfolio, he saw an emerging trend that didn’t sit right with him. While some stocked delivered high performance, it was mainly derived from the destruction of animal habitats and the natural world. 

When he had a conversation with the CIO of an environmental foundation and shared that the palm oil company delivered the high returns had in fact destroyed a habit of Orangutans, the CIOs response was that he was focused on the investment side of the foundation and his task was to protect the assets, not the planet.

That was a wake-up call for Marco where he felt there was something fundamentally wrong with the way finance works, and led him to shift gears, divest from stocks that created harm, and start the slow money movement.

Since leaving his portfolio management life behind in 2009, Marco set out on a mission to be a 100% aware and no-harm investmentor with a longstanding commitment to Positive and Restorative investing. He is the founding member of Slow Money and is on the leadership team of Slow Money Northern California since 2020.

In this episode, Marco and Gabe discuss:

  • Marco’s awakening moment of being part of a highly successful Quant team to understanding the trade-off of high returns to the environment impact at the time.
  • The complexity of ESG investing and the shift to no-harm investing, and restorative investing.
  • Explain and explore unaware, reduced risk, no harm, positive and restorative investing styles.
  • Why transparency into investments is key to understanding how they bring about change and positive impact.
  • How consumer change is easier at the product level versus portfolio change, but tackling investments is more impactful
  • The future of no harm and positive investing in the near and far future, and why there is a massive transformation coming.

About YourStake Your Story:

The YourStake, YourStory podcast is designed to amplify voices in the financial industry who are leading the charge for socially responsible investing practices.

Each episode, we are joined by experts in the field to hear their stories about what brought them into the industry, why they are passionate about ESG and values-based investing, and much more.

Resources:

Marco’s website: https://ek4t.com/

EK4T’s investment classifications: https://ek4t.com/classification/

The upcoming MQU course: https://www.mqre.org/events/2023-towards-aware-and-values-centered-investing/

CNote: https://www.mycnote.com/

RSF Social Finance: https://rsfsocialfinance.org/

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