From dealflow to a lack of education, this week leaders in social finance addressed some of the key barriers preventing the UK market from flourishing. Last month Antony Bugg-Levine, the chair of the Global Impact Investing Network, told delegates at London’s Critical Mass conference that in the world of social finance there were “hypers, haters and […]Read More ›
Putting it in practice: Enabling diversity in impact investing
Have you ever started an investment company, from scratch? That’s exactly what I’m doing and it is challenging, exhilarating, and one of the most purposeful and intentional things I have ever done. I developed and practice Integrated Investing, an impactful approach to investing which starts with integrating information from analysis, emotion, intuition, and body into our investment decisions. Integrated Investing is what gets me out of bed every morning. I eat, sleep, and breathe Integrated Investing and I love it.
There is research that suggests women are integrating their activities of investing in their families, personal causes, and their selves into their lives and activities as they go along. That to me sounds as though women could very well be natural Integrated Investors
However, I’m a minority in the field of investing. At the best of times, women represent 25% of decision-makers and leaders in the finance and investment sector. At the worst of times, you’ll find disproportionately more all-male investment leadership teams than diverse or all-female. In the impact investment space, the leadership teams are more diverse and there is a higher representation by women.
Natural ecosystems depend on diversity to get the right combination of catalysts, energy, and nutrients to thrive and function viably, sustainably, and in a way that can adapt to changes. Our economies and societies are no different – they too need diversity to be healthy and thrive. Diversity in the investment community, in particular in leadership and decision-making levels, is important for healthy, thriving economies and societies. Here are some things we need to do to achieve that.
Enable investment structures and investment culture that serve women
Pay attention to how women make decisions about their time, energy, and money. Consider investment structures that work for people with the financial capacity, risk appetite and acumen to invest, but do not meet accredited investor definitions. Most of the women I have spoken with are busy working, teaching, supporting their causes, spending time with their friends and families, and investing or thinking about it – time is precious. They want to have fun and meet interesting people in a dynamic, social environment, so create an investing experience that has those qualities.
Expose people to investor mentors and role models or immersion in an investment community
One of the responses I received after the first post was published was from a woman who is actively investing in ventures every year. However, she re-affirmed another observation I made – some angels are more private about their investments and their investing activities are not as visible. There is value in having investor mentors and role models, by creating an investing experience that respects this privacy, yet enables newer investors to see others are actively investing, learn from them, and be mentored.
Give people access to the right information, tools, and resources to help them become more active as investors
Whether it is understanding how the investment process works or finding opportunities that are meaningful and purposeful to the investor or even useful reminders and ways of reflecting upon why we invest in the first place, having access to the information, tools, and resources, delivered in a values-aligned way is critical for helping investors develop and grow.
Acknowledge the range of emotions that are experienced in investing
Rather than keeping emotions out of the decision-making process, I advocate for growing our awareness about how emotions affect our decisions. Investing evokes a wide range of emotions – such as curiosity, excitement, reluctance, curiosity, fear, empowerment, courage, and joy. These emotions help and hinder at different times, so being aware of them, in the context of other things that influence decisions, such as analysis, intuition, and our bodies, helps us make better decisions. For some people it is about getting over the fear of investing and embracing the desire to catalyze innovation. For others, it is about harnessing excitement and confidence to empower another entrepreneur or support the growth of a business doing good.
Take the time and space to decide for yourself if you want to become an investor
Investing and learning how to invest takes time. It is about making better, more integrated decisions, however it is a major decision to start investing in the first place. It is about what is right for you. So take the time and give yourself the space to decide if you want to become an investor.
Where my journey is headed
The early adopters of a more integrated approach to investing are entrepreneurial, business-savvy women, who have an appetite for investment risk and demonstrate incredible leadership. Investing is an experience, not just a process. It is about relationships, not just transactions. I created Pique Ventures as an investment company that is accessible to people with the financial capacity to invest in an integrated way, but are not necessarily accredited investors. I highly value social engagement, so periodically I host events where investors and newer investors get a chance to meet each other, as well as meet amazing entrepreneurs leading promising ventures. I developed the Integrated Investing methodology, that is applied in the investment decision-making for Pique Ventures and is also part of the integrated investor training curriculum I created. The cornerstone is the integration of analysis, emotion, intuition, and body into our decision-making.
I am putting all of this into practice as I develop Pique Ventures and I invite others to do the same.
Editor’s Note: The other posts in this series by Bonnie Foley-Wong include: