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Tufts Enacts Investment Policies to Advance Sustainability – Tufts Now

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Tufts University will prohibit direct investments in coal and tar sands companies as part of a multi-part commitment to advance sustainability and address the urgent crisis of climate change. Additional actions include investing up to $25 million in positive impact funds related to climate change over five years and proactively calling on external investment managers to take environmental, social, and governance considerations into account in their investment processes.

The university joins a small number of U.S. colleges and universities with similar-sized endowments of approximately $2 billion or more to prohibit investments in coal and tar sands companies.

From campus operations to the classroom, sustainability at Tufts is a collective effort spanning departments, offices, schools, and campuses. The plan, approved by the university’s Board of Trustees, is in keeping with the university’s long history of leadership within higher education on issues of sustainability, ranging from initiating the Talloires Declaration in 1990 to its work today to minimize its carbon footprint, foster groundbreaking research and scholarship, and prepare students to become the next generation of leaders on climate change.

As part of its multi-part commitment to promoting further change beyond the university and enhanced transparency and accountability within it, Tufts will:

  • Invest $10 million to $25 million in positive impact funds related to climate change over the next five years. A minimum of $10 million will be allocated, with the remainder structured as a match to encourage contributions to the endowment from those who are passionate about climate action.
  • Proactively communicate with all current and future investment managers to inform them of Tufts’ decision to prohibit direct investment in coal and tar sands companies, impress upon them the university’s belief in the urgency of climate change, and encourage them to further integrate climate-change risk and other environmental, social, and governance considerations into their investment processes.
  • Enhance transparency by creating a dashboard that will report on the university’s progress toward these actions as well as other relevant information regarding action on climate change and fossil fuels.
  • Evaluate progress in light of the rapid pace of change in the fields of environmental sustainability, energy production/consumption, and investing, and revisit these actions in two to five years.
  • Further integrate and advance the university’s efforts on environmental sustainability. The university would coordinate these efforts with the Campus Sustainability Council to connect their work in support of a broader, university-wide climate change mitigation plan.

“Tufts is committed to the mission of addressing the most consequential challenges of our time, including the urgent global crisis of climate change,” said President Anthony P. Monaco. “We are taking practical and symbolic steps to advance the cause of sustainability and positive environmental impact, both at Tufts and beyond.”

The university’s commitment follows the recommendations of a Responsible Investment Advisory Group (RIAG) composed of students, faculty, and staff that convened in the fall of 2020 to study the issue of potential divestment. The group reviewed actions taken by other universities and colleges as well as measures beyond divestment to promote sustainability, explored potential options and ramifications, and issued its recommendations [PDF] to the Board of Trustees this winter.

Under the plan, Tufts will prohibit direct investments in 120 coal and tar sands companies with the largest reserves. The university currently has no direct holdings in the restricted companies, and the change in investment policy will prevent it from acquiring any.

This restriction, which would cover virtually all public reserves in this space and most major energy companies, would apply to the Investment Office’s internally managed accounts and be implemented within six to 12 months. The companies in question would be determined by a list updated annually by an established third party commonly used by other universities for these purposes.

The university also will seek to influence the holdings in its other investments that it does not directly control, such as commingled funds, by attempting to move investment managers toward change.

“It is our hope that our actions and our voice, in combination with peer universities and others, will cause investment managers to accelerate their shift from fossil fuel investments to portfolios with more sustainable investments,” said Robert R. Gheewalla, A89, trustee and RIAG chair.

Faculty research related to climate change and climate change solutions can be found in virtually every school at the university. Tufts offered 585 courses related to sustainability over the past two years and seven graduate and undergraduate degree programs in sustainability and related fields. Last year, Tufts welcomed the first cohort of students in the master’s of science in sustainability program.

“The urgency of climate change is imperative, and the steps we are announcing today complement the many university programs on sustainability advanced through our scholarship, research, teaching, and campus operations,” added Monaco.

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How to spot fraudulent investment schemes; regulator sees surge of deception on social media – Times Colonist

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Fear of missing out on a good thing may be driving people to make poor decisions with their money, according to the B.C. Securities Commission.

The market regulator said new research suggests fear of missing out, or FOMO, may have investors, especially young ones, thinking social media is a good place to find investment opportunities and that failing to act immediately on a new investment might lead them to miss big wins.

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“Results of this new research are particularly concerning because we’ve seen a surge in potentially fraudulent schemes peddled on social media during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Doug Muir, the commission’s director of enforcement. “We also know that fraudsters put pressure on people to act quickly. It’s important to gather as much reliable information about an investment as you can before putting your money into it, and to not rush into it.”

The commission surveyed more than 2,000 Canadians, including 1,000 B.C. residents to gauge how age and FOMO influence investment attitudes.

The study found the younger you are, the more FOMO you have, with half of B.C. residents between 18 and 34 admitting they experience it compared with just 19 per cent of adults 55 or older. Thirty-eight per cent of B.C. adults under 35, who said they experience FOMO, believed social media to be a good source of investment opportunity. And 41 per cent of those believed that if they don’t act immediately, they might miss a good investment.

The commission said a key sign of investment fraud is time constraint — that an opportunity is exclusive or available only to select people, while in reality most legitimate investments are available to anyone with the money to invest. Another warning sign is rushing would-be investors, telling them they must sign now to get in on the deal.

Muir said over the past year or so, they have started to focus on factors like FOMO that influence investors.

Muir said often investors feel pressured by a variety of factors like trust, panic to make up investment shortfalls, fear of missing out and embarrassment that they aren’t well educated when it comes to investing.

“Many are embarrassed about asking questions — they don’t want to admit they don’t understand and when they also have FOMO that can overwhelm reason,” he said.

To educate people about the risk of letting FOMO drive their investment decisions, the commission is launching a campaign called Hi, My Name is FOMO to explain the importance of doing research before investing and encouraging people to report suspected fraud to the B.C. Securities Commission.

In 2018, research by the commission found that fraud vulnerability is highest among younger people, particularly young women.

Muir said the commission has been very active over the past year dealing with an overall increase in fraud as a result of the pandemic.

“It’s not surprising, fraudsters pick up on the theme of the day,” he said. “Fraud hasn’t changed much, but the particular hook they use to get people changes.”

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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Bank of Canada’s next move to be tapering asset purchases: Reuters Poll

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By Mumal Rathore

BENGALURU (Reuters) – The Bank of Canada‘s next policy move will be to taper its asset purchase programme following a solid economic rebound and sustained growth later this year, according to a majority of economists in a Reuters Poll.

Despite renewed lockdowns in some provinces and expectations of a slowdown this quarter policymakers expect a recovery to be driven by a successful vaccine rollout, knock-on effects from a U.S. fiscal package and further gains in oil prices.

The consensus of the March 1-5 poll predicted the BoC would keep its key interest rate on hold at 0.25% through to the end of next year, unchanged from the previous poll.

While two of the top five Canadian banks predicted the central bank would hike rates as early as the second quarter next year, none of the 34 respondents expected any change at the bank’s next meeting on March 10.

More than 70% of poll participants, or 15 out of 21, who responded to an additional question, said the central bank would taper its asset purchases programme as its next move.

“The bank will look to re-calibrate its quantitative easing programme before moving on the overnight rate,” said Derek Holt, vice president of Capital Markets Economics at Scotiabank.

“If growth comes in stronger than expected, we could see a reduction in monetary support offered through the asset purchase programme.”

Despite the Canadian economy contracting 5.4% in 2020, its deepest annual drop on record, it ended 2020 on a brighter note and grew at a stronger-than-expected annualized rate of 9.6% last quarter.

The economy likely grew 0.5% in January, according to the latest Statistics Canada report despite being hit by a second wave of infections and containment measures.

“The Canadian economy soldiered through the second wave of restrictions much better than anticipated, supported by a big rebound in resource sector activity and a raging housing market,” said Douglas Porter, chief economist and managing director economics at BMO.

“Look for new growth drivers to kick into gear as the economy re-opens in stages through this year, leading to roughly 6% growth – a nice mirror image to last year’s deep dive. It’s not precisely a V-shaped recovery, but it’s very close.”

All 25 economists who answered another question agreed with the BoC’s assessment of a solid and sustainable economy in the second half of this year.

 

(Reporting by Mumal Rathore; Polling by Manjul Paul; Editing by Jonathan Cable and Edmund Blair)

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Comparing Luxury Investment Around the World – Visual Capitalist

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Do you enjoy the finer things in life? For many of the world’s wealthy individuals, acquiring luxury goods such as art, fine wine, and watches is a passion.

Unlike traditional investments in financial assets, luxury goods can be difficult to value if one does not have an appreciation for their form. A rare painting, for example, does not generate cash flows, meaning its value is truly in the eye of the beholder.

To gain some insight into the market for luxury goods, this infographic takes data from Knight Frank’s 2021 Wealth Report to compare the preferences of nine global regions.

Global Tastes in Luxury Goods

To rank the most popular luxury investments in 2020, Knight Frank surveyed over 600 private bankers, wealth advisors, and family offices. The following table summarizes their findings, as well as each category’s growth according to the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index.

Global Average Ranking Category 10-year growth in asset values (%)
1 Art 71%
2 Classic cars 193%
3 Watches 89%
4 Wine 127%
5 Jewelry 67%
6 Rare whiskey 478%
7 Furniture 22%
8 Colored diamonds 39%
9 Coins 72%
10 Handbags 108%

Art was unmistakably the top category for 2020, ranking first in every geographic region except Africa and Asia, where it placed second instead. The global market for artwork was estimated to be worth $64 billion in 2019, and is often facilitated through auction houses such as Sotheby’s.

In terms of asset appreciation, rare whiskeys have climbed the most in value over the past 10 years. Connoisseurs of this spirit will be familiar with distilleries like The Macallan, whose rare bottles can sell for more than a million dollars.

Comparing Luxury Investment Between North America and Asia

Below, we’ve compared the rankings of Asia and North America to get a better idea of how preferences can vary.

The biggest differences here are watches, which ranked first in Asia but fourth in North America, and classic cars, which ranked second in North America but fifth in Asia. The remaining eight categories took similar spots across the two regions.

Rank Asia Popularity North America Popularity
1 Watches Art
2 Art Classic cars
3 Jewelry Wine
4 Wine Watches
5 Classic cars Jewelry
6 Rare whiskey Rare whiskey
7 Handbags Furniture
8 Furniture Handbags
9 Colored diamonds Coins (tied for 8th place)
10 Coins Colored diamonds

Asia’s stronger preference for watches was likely driven by Chinese consumers, who are now the biggest buyers of luxury watches globally. Demand throughout the COVID-19 pandemic proved resilient, with exports of Swiss watches to China increasing by 17.1% between January and November 2020.

Classic cars, on the other hand, may be more popular in North America due to the region’s longer automotive history. Two of America’s most iconic automakers, Ford and General Motors, have both been around for over a century!

The Biggest Sales of 2020

Here were some of the most extravagant and noteworthy luxury sales from 2020.

Art

Francis Bacon’s 1981 Triptych Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus was sold by Sotheby’s for $84.6 million in June 2020. A triptych is an artwork that is divided into three sections but displayed as a single piece.

Other paintings by Francis Bacon have sold for even larger amounts. In 2013, Three Studies of Lucian Freud was sold by Christie’s auction house for $142 million.

Classic Cars

A 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport Roadster sold for $7.1 million in March 2020, making it one of the biggest classic car sales of the year.

Founded in 1909, Bugatti has produced some of the world’s most sought-after cars. The French brand was acquired by the Volkswagen Group in 1998, and since then, has released numerous special edition cars with price tags reaching well into the millions.

Handbags

An Hermès Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Retourné Kelly 25 sold for $437,330 in November 2020, becoming the most expensive handbag ever sold at an auction. Founded in 1837, Hermès is commonly regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious makers of handbags.

COVID-19 Dampens Luxury Investment

When compared to 2019, total sales for Sotheby’s declined 16% in 2020, while Christie’s, another leading auction house, reported a 25% decline. Despite these decreases, executives remain optimistic.

“The art and luxury markets have proven to be incredibly resilient, and demand for quality across categories is unabated.”
– Charles Stewart, CEO, Sotheby’s

The industry has been largely successful in transitioning to online operations, with Sotheby’s reporting that 70% of its auctions in 2020 were held online, up from 30% in the previous year.

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