Ep 19: Harnessing unique data to develop competitive advantages with Bill Davis, Founder & Portfolio Manager at Stance Capital

Ep 19: Harnessing unique data to develop competitive advantages with Bill Davis, Founder & Portfolio Manager at Stance Capital

Bill Davis joins Gabe Rissman on this episode to share his experience of consistently leveraging unique datasets to power positive impact as well as discuss how he builds portfolios that allow for values alignment without sacrifices and why ESG investing is going through the pimply teenager stage of life.

Gabe Rissman

Welcome to the latest episode of "Your Stake, Your Story," in this episode we welcomed Bill Davis, the founder of Stance Capital. With our co-founder and host, Gabe Rissman, the discussion navigates through Bill's unique career path, which spans from the direct mail industry to renewable energy, ultimately leading to his groundbreaking work in applying complex data models to ESG investing. His expertise sheds light on the intricate dynamics of the ESG landscape, and the challenges and triumphs in aligning investment strategies while finding ways to incorporate values without compromise into the portfolio-building process.

"You can't scale an industry if you're offering concessionary returns. It was sort of like you're not going to maybe make as much as you otherwise would, but you're going to sleep a lot better at night. But if you really want to scale it, you have to prove that it's free. So that has always been what we have been trying to prove.” - Bill Davis

This episode also delves into Bill’s strategic innovations in developing new investment products that synergize the benefits of both private and public market investing. The conversation encompasses the pivotal role of major corporations in global decarbonization efforts and the influential impact of public markets in fostering sustainable investment practices. Furthermore, Mr. Davis discusses his unique approach to ESG data analysis in building out material risk factors in his strategies.

Key Points of the Episode:

  • Finding the thread of Bill’s Career Path from the direct mail business to Stance Capital and discussing the through line between.
  • Data-Driven Decision Making: Learn about Davis's approach to leveraging data across different sectors, emphasizing his innovative methods in informed decision-making within ESG investing.
  • The Role of using both Private and Public market investing as tools to generate impact for clients.
  • He shares his thesis for starting Stance Capital and how that’s changed over time and how the ESG conversation has shifted in the last few years.

Watch the full video

About Stance Capital

Stance Capital specializes in quantitative ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) asset management and research. They are a Boston-based Registered Investment Advisor, and their clients are individuals, families, endowments, and institutions. They also build products for other investment firms under research and sub-advisory agreements.

Stance Capital took a critical evaluation of the ESG industry and found three key flaws that we aim to solve:

  1. Ethical Consistency: Aligning capital with client values is generally not being done in a thoughtful or consistent manner
  2. Value for fees: Many PMs are NOT adequately active for the level of fees they generate
  3. Risk Management: Risk efficiency is arguably a large source of out-performance that is not properly implemented

Given the rise of disclosure of ESG metrics Stance can take advantage of advances in big data, distributed cloud computing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to help their clients achieve their investment objectives. They have built a fully data-driven and systematic approach to Investing that gives quantifiable impact and performance metrics for their clients.

About Bill Davis:

Bill Davis is Founder & Portfolio Manager at Stance Capital. Prior to forming Stance Capital, LLC, Mr. Davis was co-founder and Managing Director of Empirical Asset Management, and Portfolio Manager on EAM Sustainable Equity, a strategy he launched in 2014. Prior to co-founding Empirical, he was the founder and CEO of Ze-gen, a venture and private equity backed renewable energy company. Mr. Davis received a B.A. from Connecticut College, and his career in business has included serving as CEO or founder of numerous companies including: Database Marketing Corporation in 1986, Holland Mark in 1997, and Cambridge Brand Analytics in 2003. He is Vice Chair of Impact Infrastructure, LLC, and serves on not-for-profit boards of Ceres and Seven Hills Global Outreach. He is a founding member of the President’s Council of Ceres. Mr. Davis has taught at Columbia University Center for Environmental Research and Conservation, and guest lectured at Harvard College, Harvard Business School, MIT, MIT/Sloan, Vanderbilt, and Boston University. Mr. Davis holds a Series 65.

To learn more about Bill Davis and Stance Capital:

Bill Davis LinkedIn

Stance Capital

Stance Performance

Hennessy Stance ESG ETF

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