Individual investors are increasingly conscious that the conduct of large corporations is often out of step with their personal values. By passively participating in the financial system, it's possible for even well meaning investors to become an unwitting beneficiaries of political corruption, war, social inequality, the narcotic and tobacco trade, and environmental destruction.
At Legends, we ask: How might conscious investors prosper without benefiting from activities at odds with their values? Everything we do — from our internal corperate practices to our design process and the products we create — is an effort to answer this question.
We feel that many 'impact' themed investment products don't do enough to address root causes of corporate turpitude — for example, 'ESG' themed index funds may reduce investors exposure to the most notoriously unethical corporations, but they are limited in their ability to actively promote the aspirations and values of their customers.
While we don't have all the answers yet, we've identified several principals that emerged to help us guide our design process towards a solution.
As an investor, it can be difficult to even start to comprehend the bewildering financial structures between you and the companies you are supposedly a shareholder of.
Legends removes as many layers of management, bureaucracy, and abstraction as possible from the financial products we offer, so you'll always know exactly what you own. This is the first step in creating the transparency you need to verify that you are investing in accord with your values.
Many corporations release impact statements and advertise their good works. Thoughtful investors might wonder about the authenticity of these efforts — it can be difficult to tell good intentions from actual positive change.
Legends' products provide real-time data that allow investors to confidently measure the impact they create. This is why solar panels are our inaugural and flagship product — they produce real time data on their productivity that we use to show investors the impact their investment has on the world.
Some corporations often set goals for achieving certain beneficial outcomes like racial and gender diversity on boards or environmental harm reduction. It is difficult to tell when these commitments are well intentioned or merely distractions.
Legends investments are backed by assets that affirmatively create a positive social or environmental impact as part of their operations — actively doing good, rather than promising to one day do less harm.
Legend's first, flagship product will allow individual investors to buy portions of operating solar farms, and benefit from the impact they create and the dividends they earn. We are creating a new relationship between investors and the business activities they support. Legends uses technology and design to enrich financial securities with an affirmative experience that rewards our member's values — not just with a financial return, but also with an immersive impact they can verify and feel responsible for.
We are on a journey to reimagine impact investing to meet the aspirations of conscious investors.