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SVI Partner Spotlight: Genus Capital Management

By Katya Potapova. Posted on October 1, 2020 in Professional Development, Stories + Recipes

Genus Capital Management Inc. has been offering innovative investment solutions for more than a quarter century. Now, Genus is championing Canada’s divest-invest movement with Fossil Free and impact investing strategies for our changing world.

Genus and SVI have a long-standing partnership that is rooted in innovation and community-building. We were interested to check in with Mary Lou Miles to see what they have been up to during these times. Mary Lou is a Partner and Director of Wealth Management at Genus and a good friend of Hollyhock. 

What are some lessons you’ve learned through the pandemic?

First and foremost, that we are not going back to so many things like frequent traveling or to attending large-scale events, which are missed greatly but at the same time good for our collective carbon footprint. Everyone also had to adjust to new technologies, I noticed that my email volume has doubled since the beginning of this pandemic. 

I also learned that the power is in the community. Being able to meet people where they are at and listen to them is so important. We are in the same storm but in different boats. We don’t know what’s going to happen and we don’t know how long it’s going to go on for. Everybody’s circumstances are different. So being able to be flexible and forgiving of each other’s imperfections is crucial these days. 

It’s also harder to carve out time for self-care and rest when you are home all the time, but it is still very important. It is definitely an adjustment, I personally haven’t been home for lunch in 30 years, and suddenly I am working in a room in my house all day long. So it’s time to be okay with nesting and slowing down.

How has what you’ve learned changed how you approach your work at Genus?

At Genus we have been focused on the mental health and well-being of our staff; we remind them about their benefit packages. Everyone’s got a story how they are coping, and so much anxiety is around us. Many of my client calls are not about business, we just talk openly about how we are doing. 

In terms of new ways to communicate with our clients and community, we have started to host regular online expert panel sessions. We used to host them in person and it’s interesting to see that we are getting over 90 people registered to attend online when we used to be happy with just 30 when we were doing them in person in Victoria.

Beyond that, we started in week one of the lockdown hosting weekly eight minute videos with our portfolio managers interviewing members of the investment team on current issues, hoping to provide a unique Genus perspective. We continue to air these videos six months later with continued positive feedback from clients and our contacts.

And how is business going?

Markets have been volatile but we’ve done well as being out of the oil sector this year has been very good.  We are proud to be at the forefront of clean and alternative energy investing. Some projects were implemented sooner than we were planning because of the pandemic, for example our Fossil Free Investing Site which is launching soon. That was driven by our pivot to a new way of meeting clients which is of course primarily virtual now.

Something powerful is happening in the world. The effects of climate change have triggered a global divestment movement. With the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, worldwide, people are directing their money even more away from greenhouse gas polluters and into investments that align with their values. 

It sounds exactly what folks who attend SVI are passionate about! 

Yes, if you are looking to align with your goals, achieve your dreams, and build your legacy, it’s important to know your financial impact. We enjoy attending SVI and connecting with like-minded people. 

I strongly believe in sharing knowledge and experience. SVI is a perfect model for that.

A couple of years ago I made a connection with someone  who is working in sustainable food systems in urban environments whose service I’ve been recommending to so many people including our son. We benefit so much from sharing. There is a power in possibility and in lessons – sometimes you learn that something is not working, so you are given an opportunity to revisit, change, and reinvent your business. It is priceless.

Thanks so much for your support, it was great having you at SVI 25 this year.

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