A Contradictory Life

Synchronicity of minds


Sustainability is about ecology, economy and equity. - Ralph Bicknese

I wanted to become a social worker, war correspondent or a psychologist. I work in the world of investment management as an analyst and a portfolio manager for high net worth individuals. As I have said before, the tagline of my blog exactly encapsulates who I am.

A Contradictory Life

Don’t get me wrong, I have a fantastic job! Yesterday morning I was reminded of why: our CEO and all of my colleagues are the most passionate, intelligent and dedicated individuals with which I have the privilege of working and our company is motivated by principles of trust, transparency and sustainability, as well as profitability!

Every single day is stimulating and interesting. With an inquisitive mind and a desire to understand and enjoy everything I get to analyse companies and markets professionally, and people and their behaviour personally. The fascination here is that all of this is inextricably linked which is why a career in portfolio management is well suited to me. After I have written level III of the CFA Exam in June, I hope to further my understanding of cognitive psychology and then to incorporate all of this knowledge to culminate in a greater study of the world of behavioural finance.

When people asked me why I was studying finance during my varisty years my standard answer was always, “How can I change a system that I do not understand?”

I found this TEDx video by Chris Loker, previously a banking an investment executive who is now a consultant to financial services companies on business strategy. He is the founder of a sustainable finance company and has interests in other entrepreneurial ventures including wellness and entertainment and is also an avid yogi. (I do hope my bio reads like this one day!)

Chris LokerPHOTO_0

He decided to take part in the TEDx Cape Town conference because, despite the performance anxiety of presenting, he thinks it is an invaluable forum to challenge the prevailing mindset, particularly in business and most especially in the financial services sector. He believes that solving the world’s social and environmental challenges will require a re-orientation of the present economic models which in turn requires a transformation of the financial services sector.

Watch the talk, but basically:

  • Everyone works with money every single day but most of us find it awkward to talk about.
  • We need to talk about it and understand it.
  • To change something you first need to understand it. 
  • We need to make money more interesting.
  • Every small change will make a huge impact.
  • It is better for us to make these changes, which is perfect because human beings are selfish by nature.
  • We need to become social entrepreneurs and need to see challenges as opportunities.
  • Commercial return de-risks the opportunities available in social and environmental challenges.
  • We need sustainable finance companies in the economy that antagonise and are protagonists of doing things differently.
  • We need to interrogate financial institutions – the custodians of our money – to find out what they are investing in and why.
  • We need to understand what they are allowing to happen to our money because we have allowed them to take care of it.
  • Currently, there is no real demand for this kind of sustainable financial service in South Africa but just as consumption behaviour determines products manufactured, so too will consumption behaviour affect the services provided in the financial sector. 

By an understanding of the financial sector and synchronicity of our minds we can change the world. 

Money makes the world go around. We need to make sure the world keeps going around. We need sustainability.

I love how Chris has summarised his company, Water Financial, on his blog here and you should also read this article on the Earthworks website: Chris Loker pays it forward.