We created Abacus to be a model for the kind of community we want our world to be: prosperous, diverse, sustainable, inclusive and kind. Our mission at Abacus is to expand what’s possible with money, and that includes using money to further these values.
We intentionally incorporate diversity into our investment and hiring practices, which includes investing in companies run by leaders of many races, identities, ethnicities, and values. Moreover, McKinsey & Company found that companies in the top quartile of gender and ethnic diversity are likely to have higher earnings than the median company in their industry. To that end, 50% of the Certified Financial Planners™ at Abacus are women, compared to the industry average of 23%. Because we invest in productive businesses globally, our investments include publicly traded companies in Indonesia, Malaysia and Turkey, among other Muslim majority countries.
We believe in protecting America’s national security, but we don’t believe that discriminating against citizens of entire nations is an effective strategy. Throughout human history, economic cooperation has been a successful path to decreasing violence and creating lasting peace. The U.S. is now Vietnam’s largest trading partner. China and India have a robust trading relationship today, even after a border war in 1962 led to decades of conflict over land rights. Japan and Germany are our 4th and 5th largest trading partners, an inconceivable idea 70 years ago.
On a smaller scale, thirteen years of private equity impact investing has shown us the power of social enterprise to build cooperation among former enemies. Previously war-torn countries like Uganda have now joined the world economy, with 52% of the population having mobile phone access, double the percentage in 2008. Rather than fighting each other, Ugandans of different tribes now use their phones to check market prices – facilitating exports of products like coffee, sugar and plantains to the Sudan, the UAE, and Europe. This is what sustainable and impact investing can do on the geopolitical stage.
We believe that inclusion and economic cooperation is our safest and surest path to peace and prosperity for all.
Brent Kessel, CEO
Spencer Sherman, Executive Chairman
Co-founders on behalf of the Partners