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  • Writer's pictureTanya Seajay

Wall Street Whimpers

Tanya Seajay, Founder & CEO

Happy International Women’s Day 2020

I get to stand with a group of female leaders who will ring the bell Thursday at the Toronto Stock Exchange. It’s a special event to bring awareness to the need for gender balance in our financial communities.

I am personally committed to supporting organizations that understand that diverse thought is crucial, especially when it comes to revamping nervous and whimpering systems. A recent Bloomberg article “Wall Street’s Pros Fess Up: ‘We Don’t Know What’s Going On’” is one of the most honest headlines I’ve read in a long time. It struck me that people listen better after they’ve survived a sturdy bout of self-induced chaos. Perhaps our timing is right.

In recent weeks, the market has suffered from historical turbulence. It’s a mixture of several emotional events that are shaping investment decisions; Covid-19, federal policy, Joe Biden and so many other triggers. As a society, we are losing trust and gaining fear. I think the most recent VIX charts are proof of that.

Modern Methodologies

It’s easy to understand why Wall Street’s brightest is at a loss when it comes time to explaining why the market goes up 4.5% one day and drops 2% the next. At Orenda, the first step we take is to look beyond traditional P&L statements and biased company reports, and access more modern behavioural finance methodologies.

Along with price data and corporate actions, we include a company’s social alignment, a company’s ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) performance from society’s perspective, as well as corporate commitments to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). We believe and can prove that Profit and Loss statements should be expanded to include a running balance of commitments to people, planet and prosperity. Once Wall Street takes these factors as seriously as the rest of society, clarity and understanding will surely follow.

Wild Behaviour

Orenda was built with the knowledge that emotion has been influencing the market for years. Society’s trust in politics, governments and companies is at an all-time low, and this trust crisis continues to spread. The financial community is not immune. What was once subtle signals are now walloping Wall Street at a frenzied pace.

Throughout all of this chaos, traditional financial factors continue to be the cornerstone of most financial models. Although revenue, assets and liabilities are important factors, they no longer dictate the overall health of today’s market. For example, how are financial analysts quantifying the level of trust society has that a government will do the right thing when it comes to our global health? How are investors quantifying a community’s outcry when they are being environmentally or socially impacted in their backyards? And in celebration of International Women’s Day, how is Wall Street scoring diverse views and opinions?

Diverse Perspectives

When I stand amongst this promising group of women leaders at the Toronto Stock Exchange’s Ring the Bell event (March 12th, 2020), the financial community will see that we are growing in numbers and are a valuable asset when it comes to a purpose-based and trust-driven economy. Like the old Toronto Stock Exchange pictured above, the financial industry needs an upgrade or it will continue to fall behind.

Thank you to the stock exchanges around the world that are committed to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal #5 – Gender Equality. You are sending the right signal. This event is a commendable action, and one of many that need to take place to bring balance to our people, the planet and global prosperity. It’s also an opportunity to highlight the many serious and heart-breaking issues women and girls are facing in too many parts of the world. To learn more about Goal #5, read here.

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