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Listen now! Aligning Your Investments to Your Values

In less than five minutes, learn tips to be more intentional about incorporating your values into your investment strategy.

A boy holding a dandelion gets a piggyback ride from his mom.

Podcast Transcript

Host: Dave Specht, National Development Manager for Family Dynamics, Wells Fargo Private Bank
Guest: Jane Marie Petty, National Director of Consulting, Wells Fargo Social Impact Investing

[Dave]: 

Many people express their personal values in the way they choose to live and in the way they decide to give, but very few are taking advantage of integrating their values into their investment portfolios.

So how can investors become more intentional about aligning their investments with their values? I’m Dave Specht, the Family Dynamics National Development Manager for Wells Fargo Private Bank and I’m your host for Your Financial Journey, a podcast series that explores questions that families of wealth often face. Today I’m joined by Jane Marie Petty, the National Director of Consulting for Wells Fargo’s Social Impact Investing team.

Jane Marie, what advice do you have for individuals who want their investments to reflect their personal values?

[Jane Marie]: 

As you noted, Dave, the conversation about money is changing and many individuals and families of wealth consider purpose or mission just as important as profit and performance. There are so many opportunities to invest in a manner that is aligned with your personal values. I’d also point out that investors can still seek performance without sacrificing their beliefs.

[Dave]: 

Good point, I guess there is that belief that there’s a performance trade-off for choosing to invest in a socially conscious manner … and that just isn’t always the case. So how does one get started in making these values-aligned investment decisions, Jane Marie?

[Jane Marie]: 

You know the first step is really to take the time to gain clarity on what really moves you and what concerns you. For some, that is already well-defined. For others, articulating purpose or mission is much more challenging. These individuals and families may benefit from a facilitated values exercise with a Family Dynamics trained advisor that can help uncover and prioritize what matters most to them. Discovering these key anchor points often feels like an “aha” moment of clarity and makes it much easier to capture these key values and concerns in the investment decision-making process.

[Dave]: 

So in your conversations with socially conscious investors, that focus seems to be more on the human aspects of investing rather than technical investment discussions?

[Jane Marie]: 

Yes, that’s right. We work to understand the investor’s risk and return objectives. Most investors, however, are more interested in learning why we invest in certain companies from an environmental, social, or governance lens than the mechanics of our investment process. Some individuals want to focus on concerns such as animal welfare. Others express their desire to be more socially conscious from a broader perspective and want to invest in companies that operate with sustainable business practices and contribute to solving the world’s most pressing global challenges.

[Dave]: 

Thanks so much for sharing your perspective, Jane Marie. And while performance matters when it comes to investing, obviously so does meaning and purpose.

To learn more, please contact your Wells Fargo relationship manager.

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This information is provided for educational and illustrative purposes only.

All investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal. Past performance is not indicative of future results, and there is no assurance that any investment strategy will be successful.

Social impact investing focuses on companies that demonstrate adherence to environmental, social and corporate governance principles, among other values. There is no assurance that social impact investing can be an effective strategy under all market conditions. Different investment styles tend to shift in and out of favor. In addition, a fund’s social policy could cause it to forgo opportunities to gain exposure to certain industries, companies, sectors or regions of the economy which could cause it to underperform similar portfolios that do not have a social policy. In addition, there is no guarantee that the company invested in by a fund will exhibit positive or favorable ESG characteristics.

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