The Business of Finance
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In this episode, we explore the changing landscape and look at how shifts in consumer behaviour are driving demand for ethical investment
In the finance industry, rapid advances in technology and a shift towards more responsible business practices are driving waves of change. Digital technologies, such as blockchain, are creating new business opportunities and strengthening governance and accountability within the sector. Meanwhile, businesses are putting capital to work with purpose.
In this episode, The Business of Finance, we explore the changing landscape and look at how shifts in consumer behaviour are driving demand for ethical investment.
Professor Nick Wailes, Senior Deputy Dean and Director at AGSM is joined by Camilla Love, Managing Director at eInvest. Camilla shares her insights on Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and the opportunities in sustainable investment.
We also hear from Elvira Sojli, Associate Professor of Finance at the School of Banking and Finance at UNSW Business School. Elvira untangles the buzz around decentralised finance, and looks into the business application for Blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
- Professor Nick Wailes, Senior Deputy Dean and Director at AGSM
- Camilla Love, (AGSM MBA Executive 2011), Managing Director at eInvest
- Associate Professor Elvira Sojli, School of Banking and Finance, UNSW Business School
Nick Wailes: Well, Camilla, we’re going to talk about the business of finance and some of the developments in the business of finance, but I wanted to start talking about your career and get you to talk about how you’ve ended up at eInvest in, in the role you are and what that journey has been like.
Camilla Love: Thanks Nick. And thanks for having me along. I am Camilla Love. I’m the managing director of eInvest and we are an active ETF brand and the purpose of eInvest is to make investing simple and accessible for most Australians and investors globally. I’ve spent most of my career prior to eInvest within the same business, which is Perennial and they are a buy-side funds management firm. I have been on the sales, marketing promotions side of that business, growing capabilities, selling them into superannuation funds and pension funds both here in Australia and offshore. And it really was, you know my boss popping over the petition one day and saying, “Hey, Camilla, what do you think of the ETF market?”
And I said “well, had you read my MBA thesis that I did at AGSM a couple of years ago, you’d know. He said “dust it off, write me a business plan.” And that’s what eInvest is today. So you know I’ve had a long and adventurous journey in finance. I’m also the founder of F3, which I know, I think we will hopefully touch on a little bit later, which stands for Future Females in Finance and F3 aims to educate young women and drive the pipeline of talent into financial services, one talented female at a time. I’m a mum of two. I wear lots of different hats as Nick you well know, you’ve seen me in a number of those and I always like to make an impact. My superpower is connecting and connecting people and connecting organisations and connecting businesses to create an impact and create better things.
Nick Wailes: So fantastic. And thanks for the introduction. So we’re going to unpack a lot of those things as we go through the conversation then, and I definitely want to get to talk about F3 and the work you’re doing there, but I thought we’d start with, for someone simple like me explain to me what a exchange-traded fund is and how they work. And also the difference between active and passive funds as well. Because I think that’s interesting for us to get that as a sort of baseline.
Camilla Love: So an exchange-traded fund or ETF is not an EFT, it’s an ETF and lots of people make that mistake. So an exchange-traded fund is exactly that, a managed fund that you find on the exchange that you can trade, just like you trade a share. So you use a broker to transact. They are generally very transparent, very liquid and easy to use. And that’s why ETFs have been really, really popular, particularly off shore and have grown in popularity significantly in Australia. So they are packaged up investment capabilities or investment outcomes of investment professionals. So most people would know an ETF as an index based fund, so, or a passive based fund. And you mentioned that before. So if you say, for example, had an interest in investing in the ASX 200 or the S&P 500, which is the offshore exchange. If you bought an ETF in that you would get every single company that’s found in that index from a passively managed index fund. Where actively managed ETFs differ is that they tap into the investment intellect of investment professionals who spend all day picking and choosing which stocks to include into their fund or not.
So instead of say, for example, if we use the ASX 200, as an example, instead of having 200 stocks in your fund, you might only have 30 or 40, maybe 60 at best. And instead of getting what we call the index weight or a market capitalization weight of each company, the investment professionals who are managing that ETF will decide whether they like that company or not, whether it will be at benchmark, will it be over benchmark weight? Which means they really like it, or it could be under benchmark weight, which means they don’t really like it. They could be, ETFs can also not only be, so our actively managed ETFs could be about outperforming the index, which is a lot of the objectives of actively managed ETFs, but it could be other outcomes. So for example, we run an income based ETF and that’s to provide a certain amount of yield from the Australian shares market for example. Others may have objectives such as sustainable investing for example. And so there are lots and lots of ETFs out there and our view is it’s not active or passive, it’s active and passive. And we believe that at eInvest, we believe active management makes sense in certain asset classes. And that’s where you’ll find us putting out our ETFs. So it’s there to give you the alpha when you need it in areas where we believe we can outperform.
Nick Wailes: Okay. So thank you. That’s a really great explanation. And so this is very much a retail product, isn’t it? It’s an individual buying into an individual super fund, but are there institutional clients as well, or is it largely focused on the retail market?
Camilla Love: Yeah, there are institutional funds utilising ETFs, but in Australia they’re few and far between. Offshore there are a lot, and a lot of big pension funds and big wealth managers actually do use them as the bedrock of how they put their money to work. In Australia, you know, the ETF market is relatively new. It’s been around for nearly 20 years. So it’s not as mature as offshore ETF markets. And as the institutions are actually opening up and utilising, internalising, and this is maybe a trend we can talk about later, internalising investment management. My belief is that they will also utilise ETFs to get easy access to certain segments of the market when they see opportunities. And it’s really quite easy to time that sort of stuff, rather than having to go through the process of researching an investment manager, doing the legals, all that sort of stuff.
Nick Wailes: Yep. Okay. So at the moment it’s largely a retail product, but you can see it playing a bigger role in an institutional portfolio because it’s a great way to get access to a spread or exposure to an area that they’re interested in. So for you, you’ve moved from, on the institutional size to, to a much more retail focused business. How has that, what’s the change been for you? I’ve seen the way that you talk about the business and you’re really having to promote to individual customers and get people to think about their investment too, and what’s that change been like for you?
Camilla Love: The change has been enormous, enormous for me. I can definitely put my jargon hat on and you know, happily talk to an institutional investor about the way that our portfolio managers work and investment markets and all that sort of stuff, but having to take that and really simplify that message in a way that’s easily understandable to people like you and I is really important. The other thing that’s really changed for me is you know, financial services are a little bit old school in the way that they bring product to market. And it eInvest we’ve started the business really being digital natives and having that digital presence, really having a retail brand that has a consumer focus that has a conversation with people rather than at people. I think financial services does that a lot and really making the brand much more accessible because that’s, you have to have that. If that’s what ETFs do it makes, democratises essentially investing, you’ve got to have a brand that fits that discussion and fits that client’s communication style. And having that buy-in and changing the way that I think about how we talk to people and how we sell our product and how our product is purchased, very different, very different. So it’s changed and I’ve loved every moment of it.
Nick Wailes: But I think that’s quite interesting because if you think about that journey you’ve been on, it’s sort of the journey that the industry needs to go on. For a long time, financial services has been very jargon heavy. You know, opaque, very hard for individuals to understand, but now individuals have tools to place money where they want, they don’t need intermediaries through ETFs and a whole lot of other platforms, you can get direct access to markets without the need for a lot of that in the place. So it’s the change that our whole industry is going on. What’s your view about financial services and its ability to make that change and to become more customer focused and more transparent and all those type of things, having been on that journey?
Camilla Love: Well, I think if you put your mind to it, anything can happen. I think financial services has really liked the cloak of the opaqueness and the, I can do things better than you, or you don’t understand what we do. So therefore you need us. There is a bit of that, that ego can’t really, doesn’t cut it in the future. As a consumer myself, I want to be able to do pretty much anything that I want to do. And it’s been really interesting on a couple of fronts where the changes have really happened in my side of financial services, you can see it in the new brokers that are coming onto the market like Perla and like Superhero, different communication style, ease of access. The ability to put your money to work is pretty simple. The thematics that are available in their platforms, they’re pretty easy. The way that they’re using influences, their openness and the transparency that they have is really, really nice. And I like to see that. So there’s some really good areas where things are changing and there’s some areas where it will take forever. So who knows.
Nick Wailes: You’re talking about, and I see eInvest as an example of a FinTech you’re really applying technology and a customer focus lens to, to build a market. And the other organisations you’re talking about, we’re seeing the rise of these FinTechs that surely for the traditional parts of the industry and the institutional parts of the industry, sooner or later, it’s going to be an important, wake-up call that they’re going to have to start thinking about how do we adjust and how do we respond to that, that driver?
Camilla Love: Absolutely. And I was only having a conversation the other day about the custodians within the industry and the administrators within the industry. And some of the guys who have the lion’s share of the market are on really old technology that is really not very user-friendly, but there’s some new guys coming in like, Automic’s a great example of it, where everything’s API. You can do whatever you want with your data. You don’t have to have it in certain templates or anything like that. It’s simple, it’s easy to use. There is a lot of legacy technology that is within the industry that needs a good shakeup, and whether that’s people, organisations buying the next technology, which we’re seeing all the time within the banks, for example, to buy and bolt onto new technology or whether they start from scratch. But it’s really, it’s really hard to do. And it’s very hard to move the Titanic essentially to get that technology embedded. So it will take a lot of change, but it’s really good to see that there are some pioneers in the industry that are going, ‘Hey, hang on. Why does it have to be like this? Just because we did this yesterday, doesn’t mean we have to do it today. And how can we put the customer at the centre of our journey?’
Nick Wailes: So we talked a little bit about sort of becoming responsive to the customer and one area where I think that that’s playing a bigger role is in relation to ESG. So environmental, social and governance and investors being interested, not just in a good return, but also good outcomes from their investment. So I wonder if you could talk to that and say, is that a big, as big, an issue as it seems to be, are you actually seeing people’s money being driven by those types of things? And then also, how are the companies that you’re taking a stake in and the ones that you’re looking at, how are they responding to that pressure to, to do a better job on their ESG areas, so just some general around that.
Camilla Love: Yeah. ESG and sustainability is a big, big thing in the industry at the moment. And I dare say, it will change the industry going forward. The footprint of ESG and sustainability is already firmly on the industry. And you can see it say, for example, I heard a stat the other day where Bank of America has said that $1.6 trillion US dollars is in equity funds that have a sustainability or ESG tilt now, and that’s just equity funds. So that’s not even including fixed income, which is a huge much bigger market than, than equities. So it really, really, really has an impact. And if you look at the consumer, so the consumer is not only making a decision on where they’re putting their capital, right? So, but the consumer is also asking the companies that they’re buying. So whether you go into Woolworths and saying, Hey, I want to buy sustainable products and I want to have recycled bags and I want your plastic to be reduced by X percent. You’re seeing it from consumers. You’re seeing it from suppliers. So then Woolworths goes, what does your supply chain look like to all my suppliers? Have you done an audit of it? Do you have any modern slavery within it? If you don’t know, well, you need to go and find out. And then you’ve got staff and other stakeholders who are also asking these questions.
So I think the economy, particularly, is going through a big change in this front, and you don’t want to be a stranded asset in this transition. And so the finance industry has a really big role to play in making that transition into a more sustainable economy and putting money and capital to work where it is a win-win-win. So you’re winning for the company, you’re winning for the globe and you’re winning for all the stakeholders. And that’s, it’s so exciting to see, whether that be, I mean we’ve got a little, an ETF that’s in small and mid cap, sustainable companies, and they’re cracking companies, really interesting technologies in interesting segments. There’s lots of disruption going on and we can see it in health care. We’ve got a lot of bits and pieces of health care. In education, there’s lots of EduTech in there, and it’s all about creating a better future. But what I would say is that, for those people who are out there and looking at sustainable funds, you really do need to look under the hood because they need, they need to match what you expect sustainable and or ethical looks like to you. So there are ETFs out there, and I will tell you, that have revenue thresholds of 30 per cent. And so therefore BHP, Rio, oil search, they’re all in these portfolios and they have sustainability in the title of their fund. And the green washing that goes on is alive and true. So do, do your research and look under the hood. But now, if you’re choosing the right guys to invest with, we’re on to ESG 2.0, so gone are the days where you’re using just negative screening to screen out the bad stocks.
You know, now is the days where you’re putting in positive stocks, that’re actually adding value and adding to a sustainable economy. And then the engagement in companies to bring them forward, to make them be more gender diverse and have better ethical supply chains and have better disclosure and understand their greenhouse gas emissions, we do a lot of stuff in that engagement front. And then you’ve got impact investing on top of that. And that’s a whole other thing, which I think is really exciting to see. It’s only at its early stages at the moment impact investing, but I reckon over the next 20 years, it’s going to boom, it’s going to be great.
Nick Wailes: So I think, I think we’re going to hold that one for another podcast because, the business of impact investing, I think it would be a really great conversation. But I wanted to drill into two of those things that you talked in there. So firstly, this sort of not negative screen, so not just saying we’re just going to avoid tobacco and arms and stuff like that. But we won’t spend a lot of time drilling into the company. This much more active development of a portfolio. So I think, the example you used your Better Future fund, which was one of your funds, like what’s the process that you go through to, or the people you’re working with go through to decide, am I going to put that company in this fund and are we going to buy into it? What sort of information are they drawing on, how engaged with the companies are they?
Camilla Love: Hugely engaged, so if you think about it, so our fund is in small and mid caps. So if you think about small and mid cap companies, just in general, the resources are lower than large caps. So therefore the transparency might not necessarily be there. So they’ve actually got to do a lot, a lot more work into lifting the lid and understanding what the company is doing. So they go through the investment process, which is essentially you’ve got the screening tool, so you screen the stuff out, but you’ve got this, you’ve got an ESG and E score. So in my investment, my investment team, the Better Future team, they’re scoring each company on 50 separate E S and G attributes. And then there’s a separate score on engagement, which is our second E. And so you might have a company that goes, what’s sustainability and why should I care? And that gets a zero or a one for engagement. Where you might have another company who’s going, oh, I’m so glad you asked, let me tell you what I’m doing, this is what we’re doing and so they might get a 10. So they have a scoring system. We also do a huge amount of engagement. So we have a zero revenue threshold on a whole bunch of stuff. And that, that’s hard to do because you have to pick up the phone to every company and say, Hey, do you have, you do log old growth forest? You know, are you sure anything comes from old growth forests? No. Great. Okay, cool. I can, I accept that, but some other companies that might have maybe 10 per cent, 5 per cent of these exclusions, they can get through screens, which a lot of the other organisations do. With a lot of organisations also use third parties to help them understand, greenhouse gas emissions, help them understand, proxy voting and remuneration and gender diversity and all that sort of stuff. We do some of that, but most of it is actually our analysts. We have a very strong small caps team that actually does this day in and day out. And it’s really going, okay, looking at our investable universe and saying, how does that company look like on our gender diversity targets? Is it low? Is it high? It’s a really good company. I think the finances and the balance sheet looked fabulous, but on a few of the ESG aspects, they’re not, like, top notch. How do we engage with them to get them to become top-notch so that they can come into our fund?
Nick Wailes: So you’re actually working with the companies to help them understand what the pathway is for them to be in your fund?
Camilla Love: Absolutely. And cause in, in reality they want the capital to go and grow, which if you want to do that, then you need to step up to the plate on a number of different issues where we will engage you on it. So, and we have, even companies who aren’t in our portfolio, who are desperate to be better to, to understand what we’re looking for. And I think we’re one of the leaders in this ESG 2.0 space. So it’s quite exciting.
Nick Wailes: So I think, you know, the warning you gave at the beginning, which is be very careful about the greenwashing around these things because I think for the individual investor, it’s quite hard to tell, but I think that also the story you’ve just told really shows how financial markets can drive change, in a quite a powerful way. Maybe one other issue I’d like to pick up on is your industry is highly regulated and there’s lots of reasons for that, but issues around regulation and compliance. How has that impacted you setting up this business and what are the implications for how you run your organisation?
Camilla Love: Well, there’s, it is in everything. It is run through everything that we do. We have a compliance culture within our organisation and it’s really, really important. And it’s only come home even more to roost after the Hayne Royal commission. And some of the things that came out there, which I wouldn’t like to be involved with at all. So the industry does need to stand up. It does need to rebuild the trust and the reputation amongst individual investors as such. So, and it’s difficult. And I’ll tell you this, it’s difficult to have a consumer facing brand without all of that. I mean you want to have a conversation with a customer, but, and they’re like, can you tell me which ETF to buy? And I’m like, no, I can’t give you any advice. You need to go and seek advice from a professional. And that’s really difficult because I want to help people just generally. And if advice is needed then advice should be gained and yeah, it’s difficult.
Nick Wailes: So, so it does sound quite challenging, and I think Hayne brought to light some terrible things. But my view is that the, that there are some parts of the industry that are bearing the consequences of high levels of regulation because of the behaviour of some other people but I think we were talking offline and you said, one of the ironies of that is it’s created new job opportunities in the sector. So you’re saying what’s one of the hottest areas is actually in that compliance area.
Camilla Love: Compliance and risk. If you’re a student out there wanting to get into financial services and compliance and risk is a massive space where there is just little supply of people and huge amount of demands. So it’s definitely an area that you should all look at and the other one I think is in cybersecurity. So a lot of the banks and the fund managers and cybersecurity is really, really important to a lot of companies and particularly in financial services. So yeah, they’re two areas where I think that there is huge demand for talent at the moment.
Nick Wailes: Great. So that’s a great pivot for me to talk, start talking to you about your other great passion, which is Future Females in Finance and something you’ve been doing for awhile. I wanted to ask this question. You’re a senior woman in finance, but why are there so few women in senior roles in the finance sector? Why is that and it doesn’t seem to be changing.
Camilla Love: Good question, Nick. And if I knew there was one silver bullet, I would have fixed it by now I think. There’s a myriad of answers to that and they’re both demand and supply side, whether that be the perceptions of what culture looks like in finance, whether we have flexible working in finance, whether people are hiring their mates and lots of unconscious bias comes in. Whether the fact that lots of jobs are never advertised, whether girls think that they can only do 30 per cent of the role when guys think that they can do a hundred percent, even though they’re equally as capable, there are so, so many reasons. And there’s lots of competition from other industries right now where new graduates find purpose. And what I would say to those people who are listening is there’s so much great purpose in financial services. And helping people achieve their financial goals and their retirement goals is a great purpose. And putting capital to work in companies that are doing great for the economy and helping to transition is a fabulous purpose. It is all here in financial services. And I think you should find it, take a leap, take a chance and come and have a look.
Nick Wailes: So the demand and supply, you’ve really focused on the supply issue haven’t you, about Future Females in Finance is really about opening young women’s eyes up to finance as a career, and then giving them pathways into that. Do you want to just talk a little bit about the organisation and some of the things that you focus on?
Camilla Love: So F3, Future Females in Finance aims to educate young women about careers in finance. And we do that through podcasts and panel sessions, and careers days we showcase fabulous role models and we provide practical work experience. And you’re right, that I look at the supply side of the talent in financial services, because my view is it’s really one of the only things that I can control or at least seek to control. And we target girls from year’s 10 all the way through to the end of their journey at university. And the backbone of what we do is actually a six week online work experience program where a group of five girls work on a business problem to research, analyse and solve that business problem alongside a corporate partner and their mentor. And what it’s there to do is to give a really strong nudge to say, ‘Hey, you can do this.’ And in a really, really supportive environment.
And you know, it’s not a pass or fail, it’s there to give you not only the experience and the ability to put it on your CV, but also the network that most people lack when coming out of their degrees. And they say, I can’t get a job in finance because I don’t know anyone who works in there, walking away from one of my work experience programs who probably know 15 people who work in finance all with different job roles. And it really does give you a hands-on experiential understanding of a certain segment of financial services. And whether that be in financial planning, whether that be in funds management, whether that be in FinTech, it all just depends on the business problem at hand. And my view was it really, the problem, there’s lots of people out there who just want work experience and there’s so much demand for internships and that journey can, that can be really enlightening and it can be also very disappointing. So my view on it was what is scalable, what can be practical and what can be grassroots.
And that’s what F3 is. And it fills my cup, there isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t get a note from one of the girls who’ve gone through that says, you’ve changed what I thought financial services looked like, or thanks for setting up a coffee with this person and me, because now I’ve got an interview or it could be anything. I just, even a person who’s got a job and just said, “Hey, Camilla, just checking in a couple of years later, loving still what you do, just listened to your podcast.” I mean, that sort of stuff is just amazing. And you know, I don’t want to sit here in another 20 years time and say I haven’t made an impact. And my three girls are all out in the industry and the more the merrier, I just want to change the financial services industry, one talented female at a time.
Nick Wailes: Fantastic. It’s a great note to finish on. It’s a fantastic initiative. And I just wanted to thank you for what’s been a really fantastic conversation.
Camilla Love: Oh, thanks Nick. I will see you next time. I loved it.
Narration: Camilla’s company, eInvest, is just one example of how finance companies are disrupting the status quo and changing how we think about financial services and the kind of value they bring.
Clearly, it is possible to deliver more sustainable products and services to customers, without sacrificing on profit.
Next, we’re turning our attention to a subject you’ve probably heard a lot about, but might not fully understand.
Blockchain — the digital ledger technology that powers cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin — has been cited as a major disruptor to the finance industry, and beyond.
It falls into the category of decentralised finance, and word on its potential is quickly gaining traction throughout the business community.
Let’s hear from Associate Professor of Finance, Elvira Sojli, on decentralised finance, its advantages and challenges to be aware of.
Elvira Sojli: I am Associate Professor, Elvira Sojli. I am at UNSW Business School in the School of Banking and Finance. I do a lot of work related to how financial markets work, and I also have done quite a bit of research now around digital cash and how central banks can work with digital cash. So, a blockchain is essentially a digital ledger of transactions that is duplicated and distributed across the entire network of computer systems on the blockchain. Its goal is to be shared but remain immutable. So, that allows us to go back in time without the fear of somebody having meddled with the numbers. It facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network.
So, as a market participant you may not see it, but even today when you buy stocks or sell corporate bonds or you do any type of transactions via a broker or an online bank or an online broker, a paper document with a notary stamp is held for you somewhere. So, this legacy way of executing trades carries a lot of inefficiencies. And digital assets try to take away this type of process, and in doing so they basically make these inefficiencies a lot smaller and they reduce the traditional costs of issuing securities, and also time cost of carrying transactions. And more importantly, they make, much easier carrying out trades across borders, which are typically very complicated in the absence of these digital types of assets. So basically, this technology of digitising things that we have in paper format can be applied to more or less every industry, can be applied to every asset, where we actually need to write down, for example, provenance, origin, if we want to keep track of the eco footprint of products. All of this can be digitised and can be distributed in a much simpler way to those that are interested in knowing. So, digital assets are just providing a base framework for everyone to actually move up one notch and be able to observe and also keep track of materials that are related to supply chain networks, to customer networks, and so on. So, digital assets in general are not really only pertinent to financial markets, but this technology is going to be widespread across the supply chain and across companies, regardless of the business that they do.
So, Bitcoin was the first asset to use the blockchain technology, and now you may be familiar with Bitcoin because you can see it on your bus stop. I can see it on every time I search for something on my phone. One of the ads that I see is for Bitcoin. But really, this space of digital assets, of cryptocurrencies, even the whole decentralised finance network, is huge. I don’t think people understand the limitations of Bitcoin. Bitcoin makes an everyday transaction extremely expensive. To record a transaction on the Bitcoin ledger is very, very, very expensive because the miners are paid in fractions of Bitcoin, which at $40,000 or $50,000 US is very expensive. So, you’d like to buy an ice-cream and if you pay with Bitcoin, you’re paying three times the price as the transaction cost. So, it’s extremely un-user-friendly, and it’s not going to get cheaper any time soon, or any time ever, because of the way that it’s organised. But what it has done, it has introduced a technology which has infinite possibilities to make everything else extremely cheap and observable to everyone. So, for anyone that is interested in governance and is interested in knowledge and sharing knowledge, this technology allows you to do so.
Narration: So now we’re familiar with the mechanics, you might be wondering where blockchain can have the greatest impact for financial professionals and consumers? Let’s hear what Elvira has to say.
Elvira Sojli: So, I think just the promise of being able to have everything recorded in the world in a way that is going to be non-mutable and accessible to everyone is very exciting. There are two things that I think are going to be very useful moving forward. So the first one is the effort, and this is a collective effort in many places around the world, to digitise shareholder registers. Now, what is a shareholder register? It’s basically a list of the owners of a company’s shares, and it’s updated on an ongoing basis, but generally it’s very hard to do so because there are just so many transactions happening in financial markets on a daily basis. It’s very difficult to have a very up-to-date digital shareholder register. And for those that are more acquainted with financial markets, when a company issues a dividend or a company notifies shareholders about company actions, what they do is they say, “We will only inform or only shareholders, as of date T minus 30, in general, are in the shareholder register.”
And that’s because they don’t have up-to-date mechanisms to make sure that their shareholder register is updated on a regular basis. Now, once we digitise this, first we can see much more clearly who holds which shares of each company on a regular basis. And as such we can then, as market participants but also as owners of the firm, sometimes know who we are interacting, who owns the firms we have invested in. Where have our pension funds invested in? Instead of relying on the pension fund to tell us, exposed in a year’s time, what they’ve been doing, we can actually observe all of this on a regular basis. The other type of disruption that I foresee is going to be quite useful is the one that is related to real estate. So, there are now a few companies that are looking into making possible the digitization of real estate transactions and real estate assets, so that you can chop up a house the way that we kind of chop up the firms by shares. So, that will allow the younger generation to participate in the real estate market without having the need for them to put up the money for a whole house or for a whole flat, right? Even if they have set aside $5,000, they then can become market participants in the housing market and take advantage of increases in price, or sometimes leverage up to be able to eventually own their own home.
But they can start somewhere without and having the hope that they can grow that investment with time. So, I think these two are actually very exciting types of uses of the technology that has been made possible through the digital assets and through the pioneering work of people that introduced Bitcoin and the distributed ledger technology behind it.
Narration: Thanks for joining us for The Business of Finance.
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