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Social justice is investing’s future at Kings College

  • February 28, 2021

With Gen-Zs touted as a morally conscious generation bent on addressing the many ills in today’s society, King’s University College Capital Management Club fund manager Serge Muhirwa sees social justice defining the future of investment.

For the past year Muhirwa has been managing the club-run fund that invests in public equities, putting great emphasis on the ESG metrics of equitability, sustainability and governance. 

“I definitely think growing up in my generation and at King’s, there’s always been a great emphasis on social justice,” said Muhirwa, a fourth-year economics student at the Catholic college on the Western University campus in London, Ont. “Even if you walk through the (campus) at King’s you see just how much student council is looking at things like equitability amongst the student body.

“People don’t just want to talk about it, they really want to get involved and not be on the sidelines of social justice issues, and another place where they can do that is with their money.”

Muhirwa says if the GameStop phenomenon sparked by the Reddit group wallstreetbets, which he had long been a part of, has taught us anything, it’s that you don’t need to be a sophisticated investor to get in the game. Like a generation of gaming enthusiasts that grew up with GameStop was able to start a wave that significantly impacted the market in late January, investors driven by the greater good can also mobilize passions to drive up the value of socially-conscious investments.

“If you believe that a company is just looking to basically get all the money and resources they can from a specific environment and then run away with the money, and you believe there’s something wrong with that, then you can take your money and invest in something that meets your standards and the values you believe in,” said Muhirwa. “The benefit in doing that is if enough people voice their opinions through whatever the capital’s invested in, institutional investors who otherwise would like to make a return for their investors will now put their money there as well because other people believe in it.”

The Gamestop frenzy, which was really just a straightforward investors’ play called short selling, or a short squeeze, spread like wildfire on social media creating a most unexpected financial furor. Social media caught wind when celebrity billionaires Elon Musk and Mark Cuban among others began tweeting about it.

“How big it got was a surprise to me,” said Muhirwa who traded from his personal funds. “You had people who never invested or traded ever in their lives jumping in because of the FOMO (fear of missing out) on what could be a great investment that could essentially double or triple your money given a short span of time.”

Unfortunately, what also happened was a lot of people didn’t understand the fundamentals, bought at the peak and lost a lot of money. With inexperienced investors on board and the information age giving them access to what would once have been insider knowledge, even for those who lost, Muhirwa believes upside can be found.

“I personally believe that losing money is actually the best way to learn in the stock market for one reason alone — it hurts more to lose money, right?” said Muhirwa. “I feel first time investors definitely learned on both sides that it’s true that black swan events where you make a lot of money rarely ever happen. They also learned that just because something is going up does not essentially mean it’s going to last.”

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