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Michael Kitces' #FASuccess Podcast: Lisa Cooper's 'Sustainability-Focused Equity Management'

Figure 8 Investment Strategies' Lisa Cooper describes how her firm's investment strategy and business structure helps it act to be a force of change for good.



Welcome back to the 194th episode of Financial Advisor Success Podcast!

My guest on today’s podcast is Lisa Cooper. Lisa is the founder of Figure 8 Investment Strategies, an independent RIA based in Boise, Idaho, that oversees nearly $90 million of assets under management for 85 affluent clients.

What’s unique about Lisa, though, is that her firm operates as a B Corporation and it’s focused on what Lisa calls, ‘sustainability-focused equity management’, a form of sustainable and responsible investing by building a thematic portfolio of 50 to 60 individual stocks that has helped Lisa to effectively differentiate herself and grow to $90 million of assets under management in just four years since launching.

In this episode, we talk in depth about how Lisa crafted her unique investment approach for clients, the way the firm crafts sustainable investing themes to identify segments of the market to invest in, the screening tools they use to determine what stocks to avoid in their investment approach, how shareholder engagement through proxy voting is a key part of Lisa’s investment process, and why and how Lisa’s firm uses direct impact investing not to expand its equity reach but to garner its fixed-income bond exposure instead. We also talk about Lisa’s decision to become a certified B Corporation with her RIA, the five key areas of governance, customers and products, environment, team, and community that firms must improve to meet the B Corp requirements, the new processes and procedures that Lisa implemented in her firm to meet the standards, and why she thought it was worth the B Corporation cost and trouble to demonstrate how her business is acting to be a force for good and positive change.

And be certain to listen to the end where Lisa shares the unique types of clients that her firm has been able to attract with this differentiated focus, the challenges that she faced in trying to grow her team and expand her reach as her business grew rapidly, and how the mindset of doing more for more people all the time can be a great way to launch an advisory firm, but ultimately may end up limiting its growth.

So whether you’re interested in learning about the process of B Corp certification, how Lisa created her business as a force for good, or how to integrate ESG and impact across portfolios, then we hope you enjoy this episode of the Financial Advisor Success podcast.

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