Hello, and welcome to my blog. I’m looking forward to reflecting on how money, the economy, and investing can and should be inextricably aligned with our best selves. I hope to enter into conversation with like-minded people so we can connect, inspire, and nourish each other. And I want to highlight the work of people whose voices are important, provocative, and fascinating.
If you have not read “A New Foundation for Portfolio Management”, I would encourage you to do so. In collaboration with RSF Social Finance, I authored this paper in 2011 when I was still affiliated with Portfolio 21 Investments. The premise is that Modern Portfolio Theory is based on faulty assumptions and that, even though professionals and academics readily acknowledge this, the investment community operates as though these assumptions were true. In a nutshell, scrutiny reveals generally-accepted investment theory to be a house of cards, which is why we need to think about investing with a whole new foundation.
A new foundation for investing includes recognition of ecological limits, political and social inequity, and wealth and income polarization. We need to redefine risk to include these factors. We must question assumptions about economic growth. And, perhaps even more disconcerting to devotees of the current system, a new foundation embraces the fact that every person and every investor is unique and that what is most important to one is not necessarily what drives another. The prevailing assumption that everyone wants to accumulate as much money as quickly as possible by any legal (usually) means does not hold.
On my own and working in collaboration with a fantastic group of people, I continue to push further in terms of questioning assumptions and challenging convention regarding both the content and the practice of investing. I am questioning whether it is possible to “invest” without perpetuating inequality and unsustainable growth. If so, I wonder how this can happen within the current configuration of investment advisory and asset management firms and what genuine alternatives could look like. As we consider how ecological, financial and social limits are affecting the kind of growth we have experienced for the past century, we may also need to question and rethink the nature and role of financial services.
These are not easy issues with which to grapple. But they are important, and I believe we need to grapple with them together. I am working on another paper on these topics, and I will be addressing them in this blog. I look forward to sharing this exploration with you.