What was it that originally attracted you to the world of finance/wealth management?
My path into finance was a little unusual as I studied music at university, but I had always been very keen to work in a sustainability-related field. I quickly realised that the potential of the financial sector and of investing as a means to drive material change is significant and quite exciting.
It’s been incredibly encouraging to see the exponential growth in demand from clients and there’s never a dull moment with conversations around innovation, risks and opportunities in ESG.
I’ve been very fortunate to have my ideas encouraged and supported (as well as challenged!) at Vintage Asset Management, where I’ve really had the opportunity to find my feet in this sector.
Who is your investment hero/someone you admire in the industry?
To call anyone a hero would be to lay a bit too much responsibility on anyone’s shoulders but there are definitely people I admire, such as Mona Naqvi, who is currently head of North American ESG Indices at S&P Dow Jones Indices. Amongst other things she co-authored a brilliant paper called All Swans are Black in the Dark with 2° Investing Initiative and The Generation Foundation. It was one of the first papers I read when I became interested in sustainable finance.
Another is Paris Jordan, who I first met when I started out in finance. She is such an inspiring person and has been doing great things in the ESG space, notably setting up Virtuvest, an ethical investor network for which I’ve had the pleasure of writing.
What is the biggest issue facing this generation in the wealth management space?
Greenwashing is a big problem and it’s a complex issue to tackle partly because there is still so much debate around definitions and regulation. There’s a difficult line to tread between acknowledging the urgency of the climate crisis and resisting the temptation to make rushed decisions based on short-term thinking.
It’s crucial for everyone to get involved but we can’t risk getting things wrong and finding out too late – which would come at the expense of client trust and more broadly the livelihoods of people experiencing first-hand the effects of climate change, both now and in the generations to come.
What was your first/best/worst investment decision?
The best investment decision was establishing a framework for selection which interweaves with the UN SDGs for our Sustainable Future proposition at Vintage, and focusing on funds with active engagement and stock selection as opposed to purely negative screening.
My worst investment was probably the Zebra plant I bought at the start of lockdown which tragically passed away this year despite my best efforts to keep it alive.
What advice would you give to young talent who want to enter the world of wealth management?
Always ask questions, speak to everyone and read up as much as you can about what interests you in this space. You don’t need a degree in economics to enter the industry, and in fact your different path could be a great asset.
In what way does being of a younger generation benefit/bring an advantage to your role?
I think our generation is keen to demand the best from our environment and we’re not afraid to challenge set ways of thinking – although perhaps that’s the role of all youth in any generation. Growing up in such a connected world with access to so much information and different ways of thinking at the tip of our fingers, I’m convinced we are incredibly well-equipped to tackle today’s biggest challenges as they will require multi-faceted and collaborative solutions.
What is the biggest wider issue surrounding the wealth management industry?
There are definitely efforts to be more inclusive in our industry but there is still a way to go. With an increasingly young and diverse client base, we should aim to see this reflected in wealth management across the board, especially in leadership positions.
What are your top 3 fund picks at the moment?
Triodos Pioneer Impact Fund
UBAM Positive Impact Emerging Equity Fund
Gravis Clean Energy Income Fund
Perfect tea/biscuit combination?
Any herbal tea from my mum’s amazing tea stash – and a bit controversial but I can never turn down a biscuit with raisins in.
Marooned on a desert island – one book, one album, one practical item?
Book: Poulet aux Prunes by Marjane Satrapi – a beautiful story I always go back to.
Album: Michel Legrand’s soundtrack to Les Parapluies de Cherbourg – singing along to all the parts would make me feel less lonely.
Item: My harp – definitely not practical but it’d keep me happy, and could probably double up as a shield.
You have a time machine – do you go to the future or past, what date and time and where?
September 2025 somewhere in the Arctic Circle on a clear night – it should be the next time the solar cycle will be in its peak sun activity to see the Northern Lights!
You can live in any country in the world from tomorrow but you can never leave that country, where do you choose?
France – the bakeries are unbeatable and I’d be there with my family.
What three people (dead or alive) would you invite to a dinner party? And what do you cook?
Gillian Tett, Alice Coltrane and Artemisia Gentileschi. Very different characters but I think the conversations would be fantastic. I’d make Ash Reshteh, a notoriously tricky but incredibly tasty Persian herby soup.
You are granted one mild superpower – what do you choose?
The ability to self-regulate body temperature to adjust to any climate – no more turning up with too few or too many layers! Also probably quite useful if global warming gets worse.