State of SIT

Hey everyone! In the mode (a little bit) of a State of the Union address, below is a State of the SIT posting. It is also available in a more elegant PDF format here (although the links won’t be live).

State of the SIT

I. Lessons and Events From First Semester

A. Microfinance Simulcast is wrapped up. It was great to hear from Professor Sean Foote about the challenges, opportunities, and developments ongoing in the field of Microfinance.

B. Self-Education

1. Stocks and Bonds and Social Performance

  • Traditionally, individuals can invest in stocks or bonds. The tricky thing about making investments that have a social impact using stocks and bonds is that individuals are not affecting the flow of capital to companies in purchasing stocks, and are rarely able to buy primary bonds that do provide capital to actual companies. In buying stocks and bonds, then, investors can use shareholder advocacy to encourage companies they have a stake in to perform responsibly, or can avoid companies that behave poorly to try and change incentives so that social responsibility is encouraged.
  • In beginning to look at socially responsible stocks and bonds, we used The Global Impact Investing Rating System (GIIRS) to look at mutual fund ratings (http://giirs.org/for-funds/get-rated-funds), and the GIIRS’s listing of “B-Corporations” who post information about social performance (http://www.bcorporation.net/community/search).

2. Non-Traditional Social Investments

  • The Social Investment Team, however, also sought out non-traditional investments, outside of stocks and bonds, which might give individuals a chance to promote social goals a little more directly.
  • We identified several opportunities including: securities notes supporting microfinance institutions, security notes supporting community banking, and peer-to-peer lending.
  • New! From Winter Break: In researching several of the securities supporting microfinance institutions, we found that all of the ones we had identified were available via microplace.com in 20 dollar increments.

Summary of where that leaves us: we can use microplace.com to provide capital to microfinance institutions, prosper.com to make peer to peer loans, and the Calvert Community Note to provide capital to community banking.

3. Outline for Second Semester

January 12th– Introduction to the semester, brainstorming

Meetings 1-3- Simulate investment in microplace, go over prospectus as a group

Work at home: Pick a different prospectus and see if you have any questions not answered from the prospectus that is covered by the group.

Meetings 4-5- Split up into two groups. One group simulates investment in prosper.com, and one simulates investment in the Calvert Community Note.

Meeting 6- Brainstorm group fund, distribution of information

Meetings 7-13- Work on getting group fund funded, put up blog/distribute information about non-traditional social investments.

Ideas from first semester that could be used in Future Yearsà

  • Microfinance consulting project
  • Interview wealth management firms to find out about their social options
  • Use GIIRS to outline ways to use stocks and bonds to promote social performance.

New Recruitment Flyer

We have a new flyer to recruit additional members for the second semester. You can find it as a PDF here, and the text is pasted blow.

We WILL all be investors of some sort, even if we have just a bank account.

We CAN all be the sort of investors that are deliberate about where our money goes.

Do you want to learn how to invest in a way that promotes social goals (economic growth, sustainability, human rights, etc.), even if the investment amount is as little as $20?

Do you want to learn how to diversify your investment portfolio beyond stocks and bonds?

Do you want to learn what types of mechanisms might exist for smallholder individual investors in the future?

Do you not only want to learn about these questions, but USE what you learn in:

  1. Managing an Alternative, Social Investment Fund
  2. Publicizing information about social investments, and creating a community of social investors.

If any of the above sounds interesting, join the SOCIAL INVESTMENT TEAM for a meeting and find out more.

First meeting: Thursday, September 22nd

8:30 PM in the Davenport Common Room.

https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=114679831971613

Unofficial Slogan

At the activities Bazaar, SIT will have a vote for its unofficial slogan. Feel free to cast your absentee ballot here!

  1. Invest in change, make $.
  2. More change than your desk or futon could even dream of: use money, make money, effect change. Social Investment.
  3. “It’s like a mix between Obama’s call for change and Lil Wayne’s affinity for money. Imagine Obama making a speech, autotuned. That’s social investing.”–Anonymous.

Putting the Social in Social Investment Team

It’s never too early to start brainstorming. Past ideas for Team social events  have included dinners in dining halls, frozen yogurt, frisbee, and Karaoke. Do you have other ideas for social activities you might be interested in doing as a Team? Feel to voice them as comments.

2011-2012 Plans!

After a summer of e-mails between coordinating officers, SIT has an outline of activities for the upcoming year. Check it out!

1. Identifying individual investment opportunities

  • SIT members will be encouraged to choose a social cause they would like to support, and throughout each semester  will work to identify an investment mechanism that supports this cause.
  • To facilitate this process, SIT as a whole will go over popular mechanisms for identifying and comparing social investments including the Impact Reporting and Investment Standards (IRIS), Social Returns on Investment (SROI), and the triple bottom line.

2. Talk to professionals in the field

  • SIT will work to talk to processionals active in social investment, both by conference call and by one or two in-person visits to firms based in New York.

3. Microfinance Consulting Project

  • Conceived of by last year’s Team, this project will involve contacting Microfinance Firms and ultimately individual recipients of microloans to start a pen-pal exchange in which SIT can learn about the challenges and opportunities of conducting micro businesses in developing countries and can in exchange offer advice on basic financial management and planning.

4. Publicity

  • SIT is dedicated not only to learning about social investment, but also to publicizing that information to the broader Yale community.
  • Through blogs, speaking events, and publicity campaigns, SIT intends to get the word out and to have the ideas stick in campus consciousness.
  • Part of publicity (and internal education) will also be continuing to screen the Microfinance Simulcast taught out of the Haas School of Management at UC Berkeley.

Simulcast Starts Monday, the 25th!

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=163047340391600

When: Monday, October 25th, 7 PM
Location: WLH 211

Part of Microfinance Simulcast Series
When: Mondays, 7 – 9 PM
Dates: Oct 25th – Dec 6th 2010
Location: WLH 211

The Berkeley Haas School of Business and the Yale College Social Investment Team invite you to be part of an innovative learning experience: a series of lectures streamed over the internet and screened live, allowing for questions/interaction, that explore why and how microfinance operations have grown to provide financial services to poor and low-income communities on a sustainable basis.

Professor Sean Foote provides an excellent introduction to microfinance as an important development and effort in the war against poverty, and brings together advice and best practices from successful practitioners around the world creating a forum to learn about current challenges and debates.

We invite you to join us for as many simulcasts as you are able to be a part of, but you are more than welcome to join us for individual sessions.

This OCTOBER 25TH!: Introduction to Microfinance – 10/25
-Microfinance and the History of informal savings
-The major components of Microfinance’s ecosystem
-An overview of issues in Microfinance: gender, impact, alternatives

Speaker: Sean Foote and Alvaro Rodriguez Arregui, Chairman, Compartamos, Managing Partner, IGNIA Partners