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Why Conscious Investing is the Future (Episode 129)

Eddy Soffer has created an easy way to invest according to your values.

He is the ESG Manager of the global firm Interactive Brokers, where he leads sustainable trading product development. He is also the co-creator of the mobile trading app, IMPACT.

“ESG” means using Environmental, Social and Governance factors to evaluate companies and countries on how far advanced they are with sustainability.

Inspired by his diverse background, Eddy created a tool to bring together global investors. He has Middle Eastern roots and grew up between Mexico and the U.S.

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What you will learn

  • Eddy shares what inspired him to get into the finance industry
  • Discover why inclusion and diversity is so important
  • Find out about the opportunities and hurdles in ESG markets
  • Learn why ESG is becoming increasingly important for companies & investors
  • ESG: It’s not going anywhere! discover why it’s here to stay
  • Learn how the IMPACT app helps investors invest in a different way
  • Eddy shares his cryptocurrency prediction
  • Plus much more!

Transcript

Jeff Bullas

00:00:05 - 00:01:40

Hi everyone and welcome to The Jeff Bullas Show. Today I have with me, Eddy Soffer. Now Eddy has created an easy way to invest according to your values. He is the ESG Manager of the global firm interactive brokers where he leads sustainable trading product development. He is the co-creator of the mobile trading app, IMPACT. I'm gonna discover more about that. Now, ESG, we love acronyms, don't we? We don't actually, but that's fine. ESG means Environmental, Social and Governance and it's an equitable way of investing in companies and countries on how far advanced they are in sustainability. Now it is a passion of Eddy's. We're gonna find a little bit more about that.

Eddy comes from quite a diverse background and we're gonna have a chat about that, which makes them really well-qualified to talk about ESG and he's really passionate about it. Now, IMPACT is a patent pending mobile trading app design that helps investors easily align on their portfolios with their values and help shape the future they wish to see expanding upon the environmental social governance training initiatives. IMPACT by Interactive Brokers features a simple and intuitive design that streamlines and makes it fun for investors.

So, Eddy, how did you get into the finance industry and tell us a little bit about your background and why it's so diverse because we had a quick chat before and you are extremely well qualified to be an ESG passionist really.

Eddy Soffer

00:01:42 - 00:04:10

Well thank you, Jeff. First, I'm excited to be here. Thank you for welcoming me and giving such a nice introduction. Yeah, so you know I've been in finance for so many years and you know I guess halfway through my career even later I had this kind of financial existential crisis like okay what am I doing? I'm working in financial services, how am I helping the planet? What's my purpose on earth? Kind of like all sorts of thoughts came like that in my head, it's like what is the future all about? And I really discovered you know sustainability or I kind of had it in my personal life but I didn't know it could be really done at work and I was at a conference in South America and somebody talked about it and this is around 7 years ago, 6 to 7 years, and I was like wow really you can have ESG a sustainability married to financial services? Because all along it has this sort of stigma and that was changing a lot that ESG was more like philanthropic, right? It's good to do, it's nice, it's pretty much the charitable department of the company, it's in human resources, it's in the foundation basis. But no, I mean this was a chat saying that you can really integrate it into the business model and see how that goes over the longer term in terms of profitability and such. And that's what sort of got the light bulb, you know, it turned it on and I was like, wow, this is amazing. I can really integrate this and that's how the journey started. So I pretty much started it before arriving to my current job, Interactive Brokers, and then I'm doing it full time where I am now.

So yeah, and in terms of the diversity and thank you for mentioning that I'm very passionate about inclusion and diversity being myself of such an international background. You know, parents are Middle Eastern. I was born in Mexico, a member of the LGBT community. You know, and I speak a number of languages and so that really added to a very sort of fun and colorful upbringing which opens up your eyes to the world in a very different way. I'm actually very blessed of having all those qualities because it really sensitizes you and it makes you more aware of the different cultures and I love people from different backgrounds. And so yeah.

Jeff Bullas

00:04:11 - 00:05:23

Yeah, I think there's a, your background and you talked about sensitivity and I think that's, I think as humans, the more exposure we get to different environments and different countries, different backgrounds, I think it improves our awareness as human beings and I think it's really, really important. You know, I've traveled a lot and I'm so grateful for that it makes me much more aware of the diversity of the planet and we don't have monopoly on truth. We need to be aware of our biases and all that sort of thing as well. So I think, you know the background you've been given that you didn't choose it. You were given it, it is a gift and I think that is great.

So how did you get, so was there, how did you get into finance and capital markets? How did this all start? Like you said as a child, you said, I'm gonna be at five years old, said I'm gonna be an investor and I'm gonna be, you know, create an app that didn't ever happen. So how did this all start?

Eddy Soffer

00:05:24 - 00:06:22

Honestly, you know, when I was on my undergraduate here in New York in college, I wanted to become a diplomat. I mean finance was far away from my mind. I was like you know, I spoke languages, I was international, that's what I wanted to do. But then when I got to my graduate, you know, program, they had the option of doing an MBA combined with International Affairs or International Relations. So I'm like, well that's interesting.

And so I started taking financial classes and I was like, wow, this is kind of neat. And that's where the interest sort of started. So my first job out of graduate school was in financial services, so that's how it all started. So it wasn't a calling when I was young. But I do believe that sustainability was later on in my life, and like this is a calling that I had to listen to, but yeah, that those are the origins of my interest in financial services.

Jeff Bullas

00:06:22 - 00:06:34

So it's not like a segue when you were studying. And I can see you being a diplomat really, I really could, I could see you going to the other side of the world and being very diplomatic and being very aware.

Eddy Soffer

00:06:35 - 00:06:37

Thank you, thank you.

Jeff Bullas

00:06:37 - 00:07:30

All right, so you discovered your passion within the finance industry. So the ESG, Environmental, Social and Governance way of investing. So what do you see, like, are you, I suppose let me put it this way, in terms of values that's obviously important here, right? So that's where it comes from, it comes from intrinsic values that you think are important to you. How do you think we're going on the ESG in terms of countries and corporations, which is what we mentioned before, are we moving fast enough? Are we not moving fast enough? And what are some of the challenges is maybe the second question.

Eddy Soffer

00:07:31 - 00:10:00

And that's a great question, Jeff. I would say from where I stand, you know, when I got involved in sustainability for the first time, like six or seven years ago, professionally, I think we've come a very, very long way, and the progress has been incredible. I think obviously you're seeing ESG and negative headlines, and some very high profile people are saying it's not good, and then it's also being politicized, you know, one area, like someone doesn't, so there's a lot of sort of headline, but it was never discussed before, so, to me that that's a very good thing, but I really believe that the catalyst, so the huge accelerator is what's happening now to world events. The pandemic, for sure, brought ESG more up front and center, whereas prior to the pandemic, you know, people were talking about it, but now it's like even more so, right, because it brings up so many issues that are embedded within the ESG as it relates to consumer safety and how to treat employees. And obviously, the environment, it was kind of assisting the environment tremendously, emissions dramatically. So, people were taking note. Also, you know, what's happening social justice globally, that's another ESG issue that is being covered quite a bit, and also the war and climate change, right? So all of this world events that we're seeing have brought it to the surface, and it has accelerated in a tremendous way. So, you're seeing a lot of corporations embracing and racing to start talking about their sustainability agenda and what they're doing as a company to contribute to society and to the planet, right. So I think that's huge and governments are acting that way too. And I really believe that this is all being sort of fueled by a new generation, a new generation that cares deeply about all these values and that's the millennials and the Gen Z's, right and you see them, they express themselves more verbally, they're out there from influencers to celebrities to others, really making a point to express themselves about it. And at the end of the day they listen, it's the power of the wallet, they're the next generation of everything of investors, consumers, clients, employees, shareholders. So you gotta take notes and make changes accordingly.

Jeff Bullas

00:10:01 - 00:11:29

Yeah, I think you made a few good points there and especially is that in the middle of a pandemic, the war in Europe, I think out of that chaos is actually bringing countries together mostly. Okay, we can't get everyone singing from the same hymn sheet, but in the main, I think it's brought countries together that were struggling. And I think, you know, I'm reading a great book at the moment, which is about, you know, as humans are moving from simplicity to complexity. We're moving from tribes to, you know, created countries with borders and now we're talking about, you know, working together as a world community and I think that's really important for us and that's where I find travel for me is a great awareness builders for me is to be aware that we need to work together on this together. Like in terms of the planet, like why can't we have it all in terms of renewables and sustainability? Why can't we live in a sustainable way with our planet? So it's really important and I think that it's getting people so focused, in other words it's a problem, but it's an opportunity I think to really get that focus brought to bear, to live sustainably with the planet and and live in an equitable way because it doesn't have to be win lose all the time. In fact it should be win-win.

Eddy Soffer

00:11:30 - 00:11:52

Yeah, and those are very good points, Jeff, and I think countries and others are acting more swiftly because we're seeing the effect, right. You see what's happening climate change and seeing the floods and everything that's happening, it's starting to affect individuals. It's starting to affect us more personally, right. And I think that's when people start to react more.

Jeff Bullas

00:11:52 - 00:12:05

So what's your, out of the three, is there a favorite within the ESG? Which one is, like do you have a pet part of the ESG acronym?

Eddy Soffer

00:12:05 - 00:12:52

So I would say to you that they're all very, very important, especially climate change and others, the one that I probably resonates a little closer to me is the “S” given my diverse background and where I come from. But obviously, climate is just as important and we're seeing the effects. But at the end of the day they're all interconnected. So in order to have a good environmental agenda, we need a very strong social and governance pillars because at the end of the day, humans are the ones that are driving all the change. So we all need to be fair to each other, accept each other, be more inclusively, more transparently, more communicative. So all of those pillars can be working in harmony at the end of the day. So

Jeff Bullas

00:12:52 - 00:13:20

So yeah, you got some great points, especially like the social side of the government side that's all required to get together and work on the environment and sustainability and renewable industries. What are some of the most exciting sort of projects and events that are happening in the renewable sustainable side is, what are you seeing around the world that excites you? Is there any sort of big projects, big dreams, big government initiatives that excite you?

Eddy Soffer

00:13:21 - 00:14:40

Yeah, I think what we're receiving more is a move towards renewables. You know, I think in the United States at least there's, I think you saw probably yesterday that congress is already agreed to pass a huge bill in the billions, I believe that is going to help the renewable sector. So I think countries are starting to spend more and more and more, but I also think that it's not just the government side, but the corporate side is also really, really stepping it up. So you have a huge asset managers that are making commitment, huge banks, huge companies to net zero, right. So you're seeing lots of organizations, lots of activity happening towards reaching that goal and the Paris climate accord. So I think there's a lot of more headlines that are talking about that. But in the corporate side, in public markets, but we also need the private markets to act. So now you're starting to see big hedge funds, private equity and other sort of private loans and others that are committing themselves to the sector. And I think that's exciting too. So you're starting to see it across quite a number of different areas that fund, you know, sort of the financial system of the world. So I think that's very exciting to me.

Jeff Bullas

00:14:40 - 00:15:38

And I think what's important is that corporations will act without government necessarily doing things, but they, if the government can give them frameworks and surely that they can invest safely without sovereign risk and so on, it becomes really, really important. So like we've got a huge project which has been dreamed up as a multibillion dollar project, which is still in the works, but basically creating a huge solar farm and battery in the north of Australia to export energy to countries in Asia. So it's like they're creating a solar farm the size of a cattle station, which in Australia are pretty big. So, And I didn't realize that you can actually transmit electricity about four and a half thousand kilometers.

Eddy Soffer

00:15:39 - 00:15:49

That's important. We're all learning, you know, all this like new technology. That's what's so exciting. The things that we're able to do now would never think of, you know, just a couple of decades ago.

Jeff Bullas

00:15:49 - 00:17:38

Well what's great is this is, it's enabled by technology. So the price of battery packs is getting lower because of technology and they're looking at different ways of storing and creating technology for battery packs instead of lithium, they're looking at, you know, salt driven ones or whatever. But then you've got the price of solar panels dropped enormously and become much more efficient. So, but then the challenge for renewables, me looking at it is that I interviewed a lady that raised money about 16 million via Blockchain crypto back in 2016 and she works on making sure people can do peer to peer trading, but on the electricity's, in other words, if you've got power sitting in your battery pack at home, you can trade it with someone else, but it requires smart meters, for example to actually be able to track all that. And also the governments need to have mandated that every house needs to have a smart meter. So it can be tracked and measured and so we're moving like almost like what happened in the pC industry in that we started with big mainframes that we just, you know, just had these big computer rooms and that became distributed. Everyone had a PC on the desk. Now, everyone's going to have a battery pack and solar panels and they'll be able to distributed networks. But the challenge is that the old ways of transmitting it, aren't built that way. So there's got to be billions of dollars spent in recreating the transmission systems that connect the power. So, there's a lot to be done.

Eddy Soffer

00:17:39 - 00:18:00

Yeah, a lot to be done because I think this is all unexplored territory, right. So it's brand new to everyone. It's brand new to companies. It's brand new to government, regulators, countries. So it's like we gotta figure out ways of doing just like when you said, you know, when PCS were first developed or you know, it's something that's brand new to the world. So yeah.

Jeff Bullas

00:18:01 - 00:18:19

And technology does enable changing quite often. We don't realize how much that can enable. And the smartphone that was democratized by Steve Jobs when the iPhone came out because before that we had the Blackberry nicknamed the crackberry. And that was only the tool of the executives.

Eddy Soffer

00:18:20 - 00:18:30

Right. Right. Exactly. It's true. It's like no one would have ever thought that they're going to move to iPhones, you know, and now everybody's got it. I was like, no way. And then look. Yeah.

Jeff Bullas

00:18:30 - 00:19:14

And so out of that, before that there was no apps, we texted each other, we had sort of able to use slow internet on our phones. It was clunky. It was horrible, ugly. Now technology, we can have apps that make it easy to do things such as keep an eye on your stocks, choose which sort of investments you want to do. So, and this leads us to what you guys are doing, and you're the co-founder of the app, the IMPACT app, tell us where this idea came from and and how it helps people, I suppose keep on top of and invest with the values that I actually cherish?

Eddy Soffer

00:19:14 - 00:21:43

Certainly, and thanks for bringing that up. We're very proud of IMPACT by Interactive Brokers, which is the name of the app. Yeah, the the idea came is when we first started on this mission together, me and and our co-founder, William Peterffy, the second person that helped in this project, is that we wanted to build a product that is like no other and we really wanted it to allow investors to do it in a very different way, right. Like I just mentioned in a way that is personalized and customized.

Sustainability and ESG means different things to different people. And even today governments and companies that are others are still struggling to put frameworks around. Okay, what should I report? What is ESG how do I deal with it? So that's being hashed out as we speak. And so we wanted to allow people to pretty much express themselves through their investments, right. And so we created the IMPACT app and we thought, okay, why don't we just add a personal touch to it where we give the opportunity for people to select the things that they care about most, right. And we came up with these 13 values which are proprietary to our firm and they all fall into the buckets of environment, social and governance. And so you start your journey that way where you select what you care about most. And you also can indicate the degree of importance. Is it important or very important to you? And then based on those factors, we take your investments, existing business. And we provide you with a scorecard. So you'll be able to get a letter grade that it's almost like a fingerprint because it's very unique to you. And it tells you how closely you are aligned to your values or to your goals, right. So you get a letter grade and then you're also able to see for each one of your holdings how closely aligned they are towards each of their values and you can further dissect the information, you can look at if you pick up your value, you can see how well your stocks are within that particular value and you can look at others and you have, we have news and others. So we came up with that solution and we're very proud to say that it's getting, you know, quite a bit of buzz in the markets because it is unique and it's opening up to the world and to all investors to be able to invest in a way that is quite different.

Jeff Bullas

00:21:43 - 00:21:45

So when did you launch it, Eddy?

Eddy Soffer

00:21:45 - 00:21:58

The app was launched in November of 2021 to the United States market. And then we opened it up to the global audience or clients in a month later. So in December of 2021.

Jeff Bullas

00:21:58 - 00:22:25

Okay. And so what if you, so you pick out your values, your 13 that you sits within the proprietary ones that sit within your firm. Can you then sort of keep select some stocks and keep that you don't own. But you just want to keep an eye on them and maybe create a test portfolio. Can you do that?

Eddy Soffer

00:22:25 - 00:23:48

Absolutely. So there are called watch lists right. So you're able to pick whatever you want and put it into this watch list and see how they're performing. And at the same time the app has the ability to trial or to test it out, right. So before you commit and you find your account, you want to take it for a test drive, you're able to go in and and see, you know, you select your stocks and create a portfolio and then once you feel comfortable you can, you know, migrate into a funded account with real money. And what's really neat about this trial period is that it is based on real market conditions, right. So it's the actual price of the stock, it's the actual market and how it's performing. And you'll be able to also get news on what we call impact news, right. Which is kind of like sustainability news on each one of those stocks. So you'll be able to keep track of that, how things change and what's also needed. It's real time. So if something happens to one of your stocks and it's either a very good sustainable event or a very negative one, you'll be able to see your score change obviously depending on on how much you bought that stock in terms of the portfolio and you want to see how the alignment might change as a result of that incident. So, so yeah, that's how you're able to test it out.

Jeff Bullas

00:23:48 - 00:23:53

So what you're saying is that it's both transactional as well as informational?

Eddy Soffer

00:23:54 - 00:25:14

Yes. And obviously we do have quite a number of other features in addition to sort of the socially responsible investing, right. We also have Cryptocurrency because we understand that, you know, this app is also geared towards the new generation of investors and they care about that. We also added what's really neat and I'm very proud of is this feature called GIVE, which is charity giving donations. So you also have a personalized journey of giving back to communities. So it's not just about you investing. I mean, it's all about sustainability after all, but suppose that you want to get back and so once you enter those filters or your preferences at the beginning, like I mentioned before for your stocks, it automatically adjusts this giving feature to reflect or to give you a list of charities that aligned with your values. So if Jeff cares about ocean life, you'll see all sorts of charities in that particular segment. It's important to mention that that feature is only available in the United States at the moment. We're looking to add it into international markets, but that's another need sort of opportunity for us to expand into international areas. So it's a combination of features that really makes it a very personalized and unique trading tool.

Jeff Bullas

00:25:15 - 00:25:42

So behind the scenes, you're providing news information as well as providing the ability to do transactions. So what's the team that sits behind it, because curating and cloning news and publishing is, can be a lot of work. So what's the team look like that sits behind the IMPACT app? Is it you on Sundays just doing a few things?

Eddy Soffer

00:25:42 - 00:26:37

You know, something I cannot take credit, you know, for development is that it took a whole village to be honest with you. Oh my goodness. And we're so thankful to so many of our teams internally at the firm. You know, from our programmer teams to developers are the ones that code and put all this in the vaccines to our sort of legal colleagues, compliance colleagues. Senior management has been

very supportive of this initiative right up front and they understand what the future is about so they provide a lot of support. Our marketing team as well, you know, we also have vendors that are working with us to provide the data. We have also our engineers that come up with sort of the algorithm based on the things that we would like to develop so that there's so many people that were involved in creating this project and we're very thankful to all of them.

Jeff Bullas

00:26:38 - 00:26:44

So how long was that journey from idea to delivery?

Eddy Soffer

00:26:44 - 00:27:38

I would say a little bit, I would say almost a year. Maybe a little bit under. But it was just day to day to making sure, we also wanted to make sure that we tested before going to market. We were in touch with potential clients and existing clients to see if they like it. What should we add, what we take out because you cannot work in a bubble, right. You have to make sure that it's in touch with the market trends and with what our clients want and what their preferences are. So we're very much doing a lot of that work prior to going live. And the app will also continue to be dynamic, right. You have to also see the world is always changing, right, So we've been adding features. One of the features we just added is measuring your carbon footprint, your own personal carbon footprint based on your behavior, right. So that's something that we recently added. We're gonna be adding other features in the coming weeks as well.

Jeff Bullas

00:27:39 - 00:27:59

There was one question that I thought of as we have been chatting and that one is ESG trends. So ESG has not been around a very long time really. I don't know when the term was coined. Do you know when it was coined?

Eddy Soffer

00:27:59 - 00:28:53

I don't know specifically, but I do know that sort of the negative screening, responsible investing has been around for quite some time from my understanding, but it never really came to the forefront until recently, right. So it was done in different ways. For example, in Middle Eastern countries, they did have sort of like negative screening for investments giving sort of religious beliefs and the way that things are done and some of churches as well or religious organizations also had the screens where because of the beliefs that weren't allowed to invest in certain areas so that was already kind of present and then it evolved from there to not just negative screening but thematic or positive screening, right. Like what do I want to invest in instead of the exclusionary part which completes the picture, you know.

Jeff Bullas

00:28:53 - 00:28:59

So obviously it's a trending niche within finance markets.

Eddy Soffer

00:29:00 - 00:29:01

Yeah.

Jeff Bullas

00:29:01 - 00:29:11

What sort of growth rates are we seeing over the last few years? Are you across any of the ESG growth rate as a marketplace? What's the growth rates on that?

Eddy Soffer

00:29:11 - 00:29:42

So the growth rate is pretty, pretty high. We've seen sort of what they call the ESG assets of sustainable investing assets growth quite dramatically. From asset managers to pension funds, pension funds are also investing quite a bit on this. And as I mentioned, even the private equity side and others. So there's a lot of interest in pumping those resources into areas that are eventually making an impact to the planet in society.

Jeff Bullas

00:29:43 - 00:30:35

So the other question I have is regarding crypto, I've got a small investment in crypto and it's quite volatile. Yes, but I'm both in my business in life I tend to take the long game even though I'm not gonna live forever, I've been told, so cryptos bounced around. Now the other thing about crypto is it has some implications for sustainability as well, because crypto is quite often needs all these computers humming away to produce a coin. So do you see a trend in the crypto industry to make that sustainable be powered by renewables, for example?

Eddy Soffer

00:30:36 - 00:31:26

Yes. And you bring up a good point cause yes, crypto is involved in a lot of data mining, right. Which is a lot of resources to your point and obviously there is concern about that. So my understanding is, and I think that there are some cryptocurrencies that are specifically focusing on sustainable sort of data mining and making sure that it's done in a way that it doesn't use a lot of resources and it's done in a huge main way. So that is something that is already being explored and is being analyzed and I do believe that, you know, obviously right now crypto is, you know, it's probably suffering a little bit because of values have dropped quite a bit, but I do believe that you know, there is, there's gonna be emphasis in creating sustainable cryptocurrencies in the future.

Jeff Bullas

00:31:26 - 00:32:03

Yeah, I think some of the different currencies in some of the miners are making it very clear that they only using renewable so making it sustainable. So yeah, so the app sounds like a great opportunity, what's the take up being like from your customers and also new customers? Because it sounds like a great way to, I suppose, play in the markets without necessarily diving them straight away and learn as you go. So what sort of growth have you seen? Like can you reveal how many apps have been downloaded?

Eddy Soffer

00:32:03 - 00:33:29

I can't reveal specific numbers but I can tell you that there is a lot of growing interest. And I think as the market continues to embrace sustainability more and more globally, we will continue to see more interest. And it's mostly coming, you know, I can tell you from one thing, it's not surprisingly from international markets like Europe and another place perhaps Australia as well, where sustainability is more embraced. It's been there longer in terms of the public eye and the regulatory environment is more advanced in those markets too. So I think companies need to start reporting more and then the consumers start seeing more of the opportunities because these companies reporting are the ones who want to invest in and they're happy to see them. So there is more growth overall, not just for us in sustainability coming from, from European markets and even from Australia and others, but I do think that it will start to pick up personally in my personal opinion in the United States as the regulatory environment continues to to grow here and also the sort of interest it starts to mature a little bit more. And emerging markets will follow suit shortly thereafter. So I do think it's a global movement and it's gonna continue. I don't think it's just a trend and fade, it's gonna go away. I think it will continue to grow in the coming years.

Jeff Bullas

00:33:30 - 00:34:22

So let's go back to the app. So the app is being designed to support the values of the firm for ESG and you mentioned 13 and maybe you can just we can quickly touch on some of those values in a minute. So with an app quite often it's remote, it's driven by technology. What do you see and how much is being done with things like AI machine learning, in other words if with this app, is it using advanced technologies now to help people invest without the role of humans because the computers and the robots are doing the trading better. Is that built into it or is there a road map for that?

Eddy Soffer

00:34:22 - 00:35:33

I would say it's just a combination of both. I think technology is driving everything today in all sorts of industries. So AI is definitely involved. And I think you'll see this across all sorts of development of things and because the way to provide information in an efficient way is through technology. there's so many sources that are being looked at as it relates to sustainability, not just with us, but with everyone because you need to sort of take all those global sources from everywhere to report on how our company is doing. And it's very difficult for a human being to do it. But at the same time the involvement of human is important. I mean after all the humans are the ones that developed the technology, right. And I think that involvement is important for quality assurance, not nothing is perfect, right. We need compliance, we need legal, we need to make sure that everything is running according to plan. So this quality assurance teams. So human intervention in human, you know, work is definitely key and necessary. You can't just leave it up to the machines themselves, you know, things break down, things happen. So human touch and human involvement is definitely key.

Jeff Bullas

00:35:33 - 00:35:36

So what you're saying is we need to keep an eye on those robots?

Eddy Soffer

00:35:37 - 00:35:48

I think we, not just that, but they continue to develop them and make sure that they get the right inputs, but yeah, I mean after all humans are the ones that created them, right.

Jeff Bullas

00:35:48 - 00:38:30

So I'm reading a great book at the moment called Don't Trust Your Gut, which is basically about making smart decisions using data, not just intuition. And I think this is what's beautiful about where we live today. We live in this intersection of art and science, humanity and tech and it's really quite exciting. I, for me, one of the reasons I got into the computer industry back in the 80’s was I was fascinated by the future and what it could possibly produce. And then you know, we fast forward to the early 2000’s and social media shows up and I was excited by the possibility of that future. And as we know, there's both upsides and downsides for technology and social media and I was very lucky to attend a roundtable hosted by the President of Egypt a few years ago and it was a round table discussion about the positives and negatives of social media.

So it was very cool and that for me was a bit of an aha moment because I'm a pretty well a half glass full sort of guy and I am very optimistic about social media, but there is, we have moved into a future with social media now where the algorithms are creating bubbles of biases. In other words, the biases are being fed by the algorithms and also our obsession and addiction to social media is something I'm very conscious of as well. So for me, I was grateful to go to have this roundtable discussion hosted by the President of Egypt in Sharm El Sheikh which is like next to the Red Sea and that was just an incredible opportunity and for me that I got interviewed on one of Egypt's top talk shows at the hotel after the event or during the event. And it was an aha moment for me that sort of it, wasn't light bulb, it's more like a creeping awareness about just being aware of the upsides and downsides of any technology and making sure they work for us as humans rather than dehumanize us and tear us apart. For me when I started social media before it got corporatized was, I saw it as bringing tribes together and what we've seen with, you know, is used as a political weapon. It's actually created almost tearing tribes apart and obsession of addiction and mental health become issues. So text is great, we just need to have some oversight on it, don't we?

Eddy Soffer

00:38:31 - 00:38:54

Absolutely. I, you know, I agree with everything you're saying and that's why I think as we alluded to before human sort of check ins making sure that the purpose of it is being fulfilled. What was the original purpose? And it's not deviating. So I think we're learning that based on everything you mentioned for sure.

Jeff Bullas

00:38:55 - 00:39:15

So where's the future for ESG? Is there any obviously you're passionate about it and you have some ideas on where he is going as a financial product or trend. What are some of your thoughts just as we wind this up.

Eddy Soffer

00:39:16 - 00:40:18

Sure, and this is obviously my personal opinion. But yeah, I think ESG is definitely here to stay. I think it's going to become mainstream. And it's going to become part of, you know, companies missions, part of reporting, part of our lives. I think people are becoming more and more attuned to, okay, how can we help society, How can we help humanity? How can we help each other? And also how can we be more healthy? How can we live a healthier lifestyle? You know, how can we help reduce climate change? So all of these behaviors are being fueled, as I mentioned, of the new generation of humans. You know, and, and I think they are the ones that are gonna continue to push this to the top of the agenda in every facet of our lives. So I think it's here to stay for sure and it's gonna be embedded into everything from our purchases, to our investments, to the clothes we buy, to the cars we drive. You're seeing it already, it's just gonna become mainstream as I mentioned.

Jeff Bullas

00:40:19 - 00:41:24

Yeah, I certainly think that's moving very quickly that way. And it's, I think it's been accelerated by the recent events. And I think even though those events aren't good in the main, I think that it is bringing us together as humans to work together more. It doesn't mean that it's perfect, but I see I'm positive about the future. I think we have a lot less issues than we did. We used to basically have a war culture 100 centuries ago. So I think the future is very bright and great to see you guys put together an app and obviously from your inspirations, co-founder of the IMPACT app to make a difference in the world, and I think that's what we need to do more. We need to double down and work out how we can make a difference, driven by own passion, skills and innate abilities and that's what you've done, Eddy, which hats off to you and the team for doing this and inviting us into the journey. Thank you very much.

Eddy Soffer

00:41:25 - 00:41:39

Thank you for very nicely summarizing all of that and for the opportunity for us to tell the story. And you know, putting out something that hopefully will inspire people to invest their money, things that help the planet and the earth. So thank you so much.

Jeff Bullas

00:41:39 - 00:41:44

It's been a pleasure Eddy. And I'm gonna go and download the app and check it out.

Eddy Soffer

00:41:44 - 00:41:47

Awesome. Everybody should. Thank you.

Jeff Bullas

00:41:47 - 00:41:50

Okay, thank you, Eddy. It's been great.

Eddy Soffer

00:41:50 - 00:41:51

Bye. Thank you

Jeff Bullas

00:41:51 - 00:41:53

Bye. Thank you