Finupriser Maurice: I Don't Invest When I Don't Feel It's Right
To give you a quick background on Maurice, he is an avid vegan athlete. A former tennis and football player, his current sports rotation includes crossfit, snowboarding and swimming. He’s run four half marathons and one full marathon in the 2019-2020 season. He’s also a climber (bouldering), race biker, triathlon-ist (in training), and Nordic racer. Like many people in Europe, he’s interested in green energy, and environmental issues. He currently uses another platform for investing, However, he had to do the research on the companies he wanted to invest in by himself, a process he describes as “a lot of work”. We want to share some insights from our discussions with him on his impact investment strategies.
You can find Maurice exploring the waters around Copenhagen from his kayak. Environmental issues are a huge part of his life. There is no Planet B.
What was the process for finding stocks that fit with your values?
To find companies that fit his values, Maurice started the manual way - Google. He used buzzwords like ‘green investments’, ‘sustainable investment’, and ‘investment in veganism’. From there, he read articles, like “what do vegans invest in?” and came up with his own list of companies he felt comfortable in supporting.
“I just typed in different buzzwords and I got surprised by the results actually. I found some pretty good articles. There were actually quite a few surprises when I went to search for stocks to invest in.”
His biggest surprises were finding out companies he wasn’t expecting are more ethical than he thought. For instance, while he expected to see Impossible Meat and other plant based companies, he didn’t expect to see Kellogg's come up in these articles. This is because Kellogg's bought another company years ago that only does plant-based foods. Tyson Foods is another company that produces chicken, which “he would not normally support”. But, it’s often the large companies that are now shifting towards plant-based alternatives.
“You need those big global players for the transition to what's better for the future. And that's why I decided actually to invest in those as well. And just hope they can do the right thing in the end”
Maurice manually spent hours going through the web finding as much information as he could to eventually come up with a list of companies he felt comfortable supporting. After doing this research, he found that only half of the companies he wanted to support are available on the investing platform he uses.
“[Investment platforms] don't provide you any information about the company itself, for example, so I had to get that knowledge somewhere.”
Why did you bother to do that work?
“It's not only about the money. It's not a short term investment because then I would just go for, I don't know, investing in oil. Ethically, I’m very much interested in renewable energies. I couldn’t invest in oil . . . In all the investments I made, I looked into every single company, I really looked into what they are doing and how they do it and how much of it they are actually doing. Because I think that's important.”
Maurice is an impact-driven person who has strongly committed to having an impact through his investments.
Are others as interested?
Maurice mentioned friends who have an even stronger focus on environmentalism than him, and it’s a growing trend he’s noticed amongst his friends. More and more people are turning plant-based, or embracing meatless Mondays, or doing their individual responsibility. However, there are also critics. On other people’s negative sentiments, he said: “I have a few very critical friends around me, and I love talking to them”. It’s not about being perfect, but everyone making the best decisions they can with the information they have, and treating people’s decisions with compassion.
Investment strategy - the money side of it
As Maurice worked in a bank, he understands there is still a financial component to his investments. “Of course I wanted to invest money. I look for companies that fit my values, my beliefs. And I looked into every company to figure out what they’re doing, how much they’re doing. But in the end, it’s still in the guts. If I have a good feeling or not.”
He has disposable income from staying in during the lockdown, and savings from his job. “I invest money I would have spent on restaurants anyway, or money I’d just be sitting on. I still think there’s a lot more that I could invest”. Like other investors we’ve talked to, he also recommended diversifying across a lot of different stocks (diversification article here).
“I'm definitely gonna invest more money. That's for sure. And actually, I want to keep investing every month from now on just a certain amount. Not sure how much - it also depends a lot on markets, because you don't buy too much on a high. But I'm not planning to sell it anytime soon. And I really want to see it as a long term investment.”
Maurice has found a sweet spot, where he feels comfortable with his long-term investment strategy of finding impactful companies and holding his money in them and staying with them for the upside in the long-run.
“For long term investments, I want to invest in something I believe in, something that really fits my values.”
We are impressed by Maurice’s drive to do the best he can. Impacting and investing are not mutually exclusive and he has mastered using both for good.