Our Monday night SOC 186 class has had the pleasure of having Lisa Cooper CFA, CFP of Figure 8 Investment Strategies be our guest speaker/lecturer/presenter twice this semester, on Monday October 16th and Monday November 6th.  Ms. Cooper focused her presentations on Impact Investing and the importance of a Community Benefit Organization (CBO) using this investment strategy.

The Monday October 16th presentation focused on Sustainable, Responsible & Impact (SRI) Investing. There are three major asset classes: stocks (equity ownership = growth engine), bonds (fixed income = safety net), and cash (liquidity). I remember learning about stocks and bonds in my Finance 120 class. Taking that class was useful to me and made Lisa’s presentation more relatable, I was able to think of examples. During her presentation asset allocation, diversification, and super important factor stood out the most to me. Asset allocation is how much you put in each bucket and diversification is an important goal of asset allocation and a key tool for managing risk. Super-important factors that determine the appropriate asset allocation: time horizon, return expectation, risk tolerance, income needs, liquidity. These factor vary depending on the size of the CBO and income. These factors are important for a CBOs long term investment. Also, that it is a good idea to start investing early.

The Monday November 6th presentation focused on SRI Applied. We spoke about the importance of a CBO having an Investment Policy Statement. This is important because a CBO should not take money from or invest in companies that go against their cause. (Example you can’t be against drunk driving and take money from an alcohol company). A CBO should use Screening (Excluding investments that contradict values and/or mission), Sustainability/ESG (Integrating ESG factors into financial analysis to identify & evaluate opportunities & risks), Engagement (Dialogue, shareholder resolutions & proxy voting to leverage shareholder power) and Impact (Direct thematic investments with local and/or targeted impact). These four things are known as the SRI Investor’s Toolbox. We did in class activities based off of an organization, we had to create a Policy Statement and brainstorm companies that organization would not take funding from.

I really enjoyed having Lisa Cooper as our guest presenter. She had a great personality and expertise. As a business major I understood a majority of the things she said and was able to relate them to real life situations. Every organization just not CBOs should have a Sustainable, Responsible & Impact (SRI) Investing policy.