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Showing posts from March, 2020

Economic Impact of the COVID19 Crisis. Comments by Jalil Boulahssas, Impact Investing Intern, University of Richmond

As the United States and the world continue to see a rise in COVID-19 cases, evidence of a considerable economic downturn continues to stack up.

It seems, at the moment, that aggressive social distancing measures and the resulting business slowdown are the best ways to protect the economy and to save countless lives.

Goldman Sachs economists have predicted that second-quarter GDP will drop 24% with a 3.8% contraction for the full year 2020. The bank has also stated that they expect unemployment to reach as high as 9%. In a more extreme prediction, the president of the St. Louis Fed, James Bullard, has warned that unemployment could reach as high as 30% and GDP could drop as much as 50% in the coming quarter.

While economic policy put into place so far focuses on stimulus and direct spending, there should be a heightened focus on the most vulnerable demographics in times of crisis. Despite the fact that everyone, other than essential workers, have been instructed to remain home, there…

Nationalize the Banks

According to the Financial Times, megabank Wells Fargo & Co “has asked the U.S. Federal Reserve to remove an asset cap introduced during its accounts scandal in order to allow it to support businesses and customers hit by the coronavirus economic fallout..”

The growth cap was imposed after the bank “acknowledged that it improperly foreclosed on 545 distressed homeowners after they asked for help with their mortgages, created 3.5 million fake accounts, charged 570,000 customers for auto insurance they did not need, and illegally repossessed vehicles from hundreds of service members.” Former bank employees state that Wells "targeted black churches” and neighborhoods by offering escalating-interest mortgages, which some loan officers called “ghetto loans.”

This week, the bank demanded that call center workers come to the office despite coronavirus, but agreed to pay "all of its domestic full-time employees who make less than $100,000 a year.. a pre-tax payment of $600 and pa…

Impact Investing Forum Update

Impact Investing ForumOpal Group is proud to present our 5th annual Impact Investing Forum. Impact investing is an approach that seeks to create positive social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. Today, we see an increase in companies proving that mission-driven and communication based strategy, can attract value based workforce, investor base, and like-minded consumer. Over the next four decades, it is estimated that over $41+ trillion will transfer from baby boomers to Millennials. As we move to the next generation of investors, we are going to find companies aligning their beliefs, operation, and communication strategies with that of the Millennials. We invite you to come join us and meet top influencers, experienced investors, money managers, and service providers that are leading the charge in this ever growing space. Themes of defining impact investing, portfolio construction, asset class opportunities, and the role of the investor are just a few of the stimu…

Can monetary policy really benefit minority groups in the U.S.? Chenyue Zhu, Impact Investing Intern, Georgetown University

Facing the global challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic and the declining stock market, the Federal Reserve made a bold move to reduce the fed funds rate to zero, trying to boost the economy as a whole.

However, it is uncertain whether minority groups will benefit from this policy. According to a report by the Fed, significant gaps exist between races and ethnicities in terms of interest rate on mortgages, and these differences vary geographically by State.

The government usually makes up those gaps through mortgage lending programs designed specifically for the disadvantaged. However, the country shows no sign of putting forward any targeted monetary policy corresponding to the changing interest rate.

Thus, people suspect that the current monetary policy will leave minority groups behind. In fact, according to Brookings Institution, Black businesses have long been undervalued, and their potential has yet to be developed.

To reverse the declining market economy, the U.S. government shou…

Growth in ESG Funds. Comments by Jalil Boulahssas, Impact Investing Intern, University of Richmond

According to the Deloitte Center for Financial Services, there has been a significant increase in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investments since 2017.

This follows a clear trend as the public and the global media have begun to focus on sustainability. As a result of this movement, it is predicted that client-driven ESG investments will reach half of all professionally managed investments by the year 2025. While the dollar amount of ESG investments are highest in Europe, the data shows increased American interest in this investment type that will drive future growth.

According to the Deloitte Center report, the share of ESG investments in the United States has grown from 11% of assets in 2011 to 26% of assets in 2018. One factor driving the growth of ESG mandated funds is client demand from both retail and institutional investors.

In response to this unprecedented growth, government agencies and investment institutions are working to establish consistent definitions, re…