Contributor profile: Matthew Clendenny

Altiorem welcomes you to the next post within a regular series, where we profile the inspiring and generous people who are making Altiorem possible.

We are excited to introduce our contributor profile on the amazing Matthew Clendenny.

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a Sydneysider by way of New York who’s worked in financial services both here in Australia and in the US. Investing is a passion of mine, and I’m devoted to keeping abreast of the latest developments with respect to quantitative and qualitative considerations across asset classes. Along those lines, I recently completed the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designation to supplement my Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) credentials. Sustainability is an exciting and burgeoning theme that also forms part of my continuing education — even if it’s not as neat and straightforward as passing a couple of standardised exams!

Probably the main thing to note about the Altiorem experience is the infectious enthusiasm on the part of the team leaders and contributors: it really helps keep things ticking along when and as things change and evolve.

What attracted you to Altiorem?

I’ve always felt strongly about the importance of good governance. While its absence is often manifest for organisations in trouble, the shortcomings in hindsight were likely evident all along. Environmental and social considerations are part and parcel of good governance and overall effective risk management.

What Altiorem is seeking to do in the area of sustainable finance is to tackle some vast and complicated subject matter (refer: not neat/straight-forward) in order to make the concepts more accessible for advocates and end-users, so I find its mission immensely attractive. Addressing climate change, in particular, is a huge challenge.

For those of us who have a hand in directing capital and investors’ savings, it’s perhaps timely on the anniversary of the first lunar landing to recall words spoken in connection with the original “moonshot”: we choose to do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because the goal will serve to organise and measure the best of our energies and skills. Granted, rocket ships aren’t particularly environmentally friendly, but hopefully, you get the idea!

How have you found the experience?

My experience with Altiorem has been challenging but consequently and ultimately rewarding. Many start-up initiatives can be rife with ambiguity, so going with the proverbial flow can represent an adjustment from, say, the structure and operating rhythm of a large financial services organisation. Working remotely across new platforms (e.g., Slack / Trello / Wordpress) has forced this old dog to learn a few new tricks, but I’m a believer in neuroplasticity! Probably the main thing to note about the Altiorem experience is the infectious enthusiasm on the part of the team leaders and contributors: it really helps keep things ticking along when and as things change and evolve.

What research summary did you complete?

My first summary was on a piece titled, “Worldwide investments in cluster munitions: a shared responsibility” by an organisation called PAX based in The Netherlands.

What did you learn?

While cluster munitions are perhaps the lesser-known cousins of land mines, the overall extended family isn’t one you want to mess with on a day-to-day basis. For those of us with the great good fortune of living in peaceful developed countries, worrying about the existence of cluster munitions is probably not front-of-mind.

However, for the handful of remaining manufacturers (there are seven or so), ongoing business operations require financing in the form of commercial banking (loans and other forms of credit) and investment banking (underwriting share and bond issues), as well as the willing ongoing asset ownership / management of securities such as shares and bonds. On that measure, there are still close to 100 financial institutions supporting cluster munitions manufacturers directly or indirectly. Those financial institutions are under increasing pressure to sever links with manufacturers in a timely manner because cluster munitions are indiscriminate weapons that can kill and maim civilian populations during and long after an attack.

Altiorem is always looking for sustainability enthusiasts like Matthew. Sign up as an Altiorem volunteer here.

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