Julie Cane is the CEO and co-founder of Democracy Investments, a registered investment advisory firm focused on promoting democracy and influencing capital flows in financial markets. The firm’s democracy investments international index re-weights the traditional international equity index towards democracies and away from authoritarian regimes using the Economist’s Democracy Index.
Today, Julie joins the show to discuss index strategies, what inspired her and her team to focus on democracy as a criteria for investment and what the future may hold for index fund investing.
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00:02 – Jonathan introduces today’s guest, Julie Cane, who joins the show to talk about her first experiences with money and her career trajectory in the financial services industry
08:09 – Understanding Index strategies and the concept of ‘weighting’
11:31 – How Julie and her partners decided to focus on democracy
15:30 – The importance of understanding where international investments are going to support
17:40 – The case for why a democracy might outperform an authoritarian state in the long run
20:16 – Factors that go into The Economist’s Democracy Score
22:49 – A whole new category of investing
25:33 – Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) investing
27:07 – Julie speaks to the challenges of launching her own business and upcoming projects
32:23 – The last thing Julie changed her mind about and one place she has visited that had a profound impact on her
34:54 – Jonathan thanks Julie for joining the show and the impactful work she is doing
“I was drawn to financial services because I felt like money – the economy – that’s where you have impact. I’ve always been mission-driven and I wanted to choose a path where I felt motivated in the same way. How can I help contribute to making the world a better place and I thought of financial services.” (06:49) (Julie)
“The more actively you manage a strategy, the more you’re gonna have higher fees and higher transaction costs. So that has to be weighed when deviating from the traditional market cap approach.” (10:36) (Julie)
“What we do is we hold every country accountable to their ‘Democracy Score’ as defined by The Economist magazine. It’s simple and transparent and systematic.” (13:14) (Julie)
“Democracies enforce rule of law and property rights. There’s a more efficient and transparent use of capital. They have higher per capita GDP. They have better innovation. So, our hypothesis is that democracies will outperform authoritarians in the long run and that companies will try to do their business in countries that support the transparent use of capital.” (18:22) (Julie)
“We [The United States] are a flawed democracy. We stayed the same in our ranking because we went up in political participation because more people voted. But we went down in the functioning of government.” (20:58) (Julie)
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Jonathan DeYoe: Hey, welcome back. On this episode of the Mindful Money podcast, I’m chatting with Julie Cane. Julie is the CEO and co founder of Democracy Investments. It’s a registered investment advisory firm focused on promoting democracy and influencing capital flows in financial markets. The firm’s democracy Investments International Index reweights the traditional international equity index towards democracies and away from authoritarian regimes using the Economists Democracy Index. Now, Julie began her career as a us naval aviator, recently served as the captain of the California State Guard. Thank you. She has 20 plus year background in the financial services. That includes product innovations at Wells Fargo, Charles Schwab Advisor Services, Sci Investments, and Autodesk Ventures. I’m actually really excited to have her on today. It’s going to be a little different from our normal conversation because I have someone here who is actively manufacturing financial products for popular consumption. Now, I have to say this right up front. I don’t know all of our listeners, I don’t know your financial situation. So this isn’t a recommendation for anyone to go out and buy this. This is another step in the educational process and I hope you get a ton out of it. I know I’m going to learn something today as well. Julie, thanks for coming on the Mindful Money podcast.
Julie Cane: Thanks for having me, Jonathan.
Jonathan DeYoe: First off, where do you call home and where are you calling in from?
Julie Cane: I’m calling in from Arinda, California, just over the hill from you.
Jonathan DeYoe: All right. And did you grow up here in the Bay area?
Julie Cane: No, I actually grew up outside of DC in Alexandria, Virginia. My dad retired from the Navy and consulted at the Pentagon, so was lucky that I didn’t have to move around after he retired and went to Uva, did ROTC there, and then I was actually recruited out of the navy by sei and that brought me to the Bay area, and I’ve been in the Bay area ever since. And, um, my fund sits on Sei’s platform, so I’ve sort of gone full circle.
Jonathan DeYoe: Oh, cool. So I want to go back to the beginning a little bit. What did you learn about money and entrepreneurship growing up?
Julie Cane: So my dad grew up during the great depression, and I could not leave the table if there was morsel left on my plate. That pretty much trickled through, like, being savvy, not being wasteful, being careful. And then I had the good fortune to have Navy federal credit union as my first bank, which is an outstanding credit union. And I learned the importance. Know, I saved pretty much everything I earned in my early jobs. And, uh, yeah, I think I was fortunate to be brought up in a time where you had to work hard, and therefore, you were careful with your strategies, not taking money for granted. And I’m doing the best to pass that on to my own children.
Jonathan DeYoe: Do you have any secrets in that regard? I have children trying to pass it on to, too.
Julie Cane: Well, I think working and having them as early as possible pay for their own pleasures, pay for their own phone, pay for their own entertainment is good, because then they would really feel the value if it’s like, well, I earned that. Oops, I just lost all that. Maybe I shouldn’t have gotten doordash three days in a row.
Jonathan DeYoe: Daughter had a phone, and it was in a, uh, pocket of her pants, and she took it to Six Flags, and it flew out of her pocket while on a roller coaster at Six Flags. And we had to regret to inform her that was on her to replace. She actually called Six Flags, and they found it three days later. It survived. Totally incredible. Lucky her, right? Anyway. Totally. Can you name, like, I don’t know, an experience growing up, uh, when were you first aware that money was something you had to think about? Was it a purchase when you were younger than ten? Was it a job when you were 13? What was that first time when you started thinking about money?
Julie Cane: Well, my dad offered to pay for college so I wouldn’t join the Navy. So that was probably the first time I had to really think about it. My way of rebelling was to join the military so I could be independent and not expect anything from my parents. That was the first time I sat down and said, okay, what do I need to live outside of my scholarship, and where will it come from and how will I make this work? And, um, then that was pretty straightforward. I’m trying to think, if there is, I guess making a decision to have kids looking at what that does to your financial planning was probably the next big accounting exercise that I did. And then more recently, starting my own business, that’s probably been the most challenging. And being an entrepreneur has really taught me a lot about savvy financial planning.
Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, we’ll get into that a little bit. Before we get into that, though, can you just give us a little bit? I did a rough thumbnail sketch. Could you give us a little bit of a history of your time in financial services specifically?
Julie Cane: Sure, yeah. And thank you for that. Great introduction, by the way. As I said, after serving in the Navy, I was recruited out by Sei, and there I worked directly for the CEO. I was in the first class of junior military officers, and it’s still a program they have today. And actually, two of my relationship managers are former Navy, so I like to tell them they have their job because I didn’t screw it up way back when. So Sei was a great, I mean, it’s always hard transitioning out, but I was so fortunate. I worked for some amazing leaders there. And, uh, at the end of one of the projects, they said, ok, everybody on this team gets to pick any office and any job. I picked San Francisco mutual fund sales and marketing. And as I said, I’ve been in the Bay Area ever since then I went back to business school, UCLA, did a management consulting for a bit, then corporate venture capital at Autodesk, which is where I met our chief investment officer, actually. And then I was recruited back into financial services from there, and I’ve been in it ever since. So I started at Wells Fargo’s private bank, helping them build out product and client segmentation strategies. And then I worked at Charles Schwab, helping the RIAs who custody at Schwab with their transition planning and human capital strategies. Then I got recruited back to Wells Fargo, built out their first competitive intelligence platform, which was super fun for their whole wealth brokerage and retirement line of business. And I ended up, I like to say I’m the Forrest Gump of Wells Fargo. I worked in every line of business at Wells Fargo, except for wholesale. I was there when they were the darling, and I was there. They were cleaning up the mess. So I’ve seen every side of financial services, and I was drawn to it. So way back when I was deciding to get out of the navy, I went to, um, was like a speed dating for junior military officers, and I met with multiple industries, but I was drawn to financial services because I felt like money, the economy, that’s where you have impact. And I’ve always been mission driven, and I wanted to choose a path where I felt motivated in the same way. How can I have contribute to the world, making the world a better place? And I thought financial services, most people tell that story, like, really, why wouldn’t have picked that into our industry for that? But coming from the outside in, it really does. To me it feels like one of the most noble fields you can be in because of the huge impact money has on everybody’s lives. So hats off to you and what you do for your clients every day and making all those important life choices easier.
Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, uh, I get the same sort of a weird people go, you went from studying comparative religion and budhism to finance. Please explain. Right. And I have the same sense. People have so little knowledge and so little understanding about how this system works. And you just open up any paper today and there’s so much misunderstanding and so much angst and so much pain around finance that you can have a huge impact. The problem is it also attracts people that are purely profit motivated. And I think that combo is tough for the universe to swallow financial services. So I actually want today to be a little bit more about education. And I’m excited to have these conversations because I don’t think most people understand some of the basics. What’s an index? And why is an index not an indexed product? What’s the difference? So can you give us just take a very basic, like s and P 500 in broad brushstrokes? How does a company, Vanguard ishare somebody take an index and turn it into an investable product?
Julie Cane: Sure. So your traditional index strategy is market capitalization weighted, and market cap is the number of shares outstanding times the price of the share. So what people are willing to pay for one share. So the product of that is market cap. So it basically computes to company size, and it’s one of the most cheap and efficient, easy ways to create an index. So market cap indices have, ah, been the traditional way to put together very large diversification at, um, a load cost for a particular strategy.
Jonathan DeYoe: Can you just touch on the idea? What do you mean by waiting? What is this idea of waiting?
Julie Cane: Well, to decide how much to allocate to each company, to do it in a neutral, systematic way. The traditional way is to just use this very simple formula. So the market has defined what the share price is and the share is outstanding. That product is the total market cap, and it’s a very neutral way to rank companies. Another way you could do it is by their dividends or their revenue. Or you could do equal weighting to every company, and then you’d have as much Apple as, you know, a smaller tech company.
Jonathan DeYoe: So weighting is, you just said it like Apple versus small company. It’s the amount, when you buy a portfolio of a certain index, it’s the amount of that portfolio that is dedicated to Apple or Exxon or another company or whatever it might be. So that weighting is the size in the. Okay, um.
Julie Cane: It’s basically the company size that, when you boil it all down at a very simple level, the market cap just looks at company size, doesn’t take any other factor into account.
Jonathan DeYoe: And you listed a couple, and I think most indices are built that way. And like you said, you can do equal weighted. And there’s other ways that people, uh, have you mentioned, like, dividend weighting, and there’s, like, price to book, and there’s all kinds of other ways to do it. Have people been looking at other ways to do it? I mean, there’s a ton of research on this, right? Is there some that work and some that don’t work? Is that something that, do you have any sense of given what you’re doing?
Julie Cane: Well, the more actively you manage a strategy, the more you’re going to have higher fees and higher transaction costs. So that has to be weighed with any deviating from the traditional market cap. Interestingly, I’ve been watching all the ESG discussions and the ratings around ESG and how different strategies are being scored, and there are, I think, some more creative ways to bring in ways to look at the new world we’re entering. And that’s part of the motivation behind our strategy. Our strategy is very much, we are proponents of passive investing. So we tried to create a strategy that is as passive as possible while incorporating a new lens to account for, in our case, changing geopolitics and concern for democracy.
Jonathan DeYoe: So where did that idea come from? How did you decide? Oh, uh, there’s all these different ways that people are tilting or factor based ways, people waiting something price to book. How did you say, you know what, let’s do weightings based on democracy. How did that come up?
Julie Cane: Well, my partners and I were very concerned, and this was during COVID We were watching the all world Xus indices getting pressured to allocate more and more to authoritarian states, especially China, over the years. And I mean, trillions are following these indices. And I’ve been in touch with my friends who are still serving and hearing their perspective of the world. That was alarming for me because I was hearing things that weren’t in the press. M I feel like they’re more in the press now than they were five, three years ago. But indices have not been held accountable for. I mean, there are still international securities that are sanctioned in these indices. And for the emerging markets on the all world Xus, two of the top 15 holdings are in securities that contribute to the tech for a surveillance state. It’s literally used for surveillance for a community that they’re monitoring. So I like to say, how is that ESG? Because it’s also in the top 15 of the large international ESG funds. I’m not sure most investors are aware. When you have 2800 securities in your portfolio, are you digging in to see where are you mostly allocated? And I feel like that’s our concern, and that’s why we wanted to come up with a new passive strategy that would undo that. And so what we do is we hold every country accountable to their democracy score as, uh, defined by the Economist magazine. So again, it’s simple and transparent and systematic. We’re just merging an all world Xus index, the same basket of stocks that are in the market cap with the Economist democracy index. And that results in a very neutral tilt towards democracies such as Norway, Taiwan, the UK, Taiwan, and then we downweight China by 73%. Their score just dropped this year. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE, for example. So this way you can get your international exposure. It’s still a passive, systematic index, so it’s cheap for us to manage, and huge diversification. 2800 stocks, large cap, mid cap, and mostly developed markets. But you’re no longer fueling the growth of authoritarian states. So if our fund gets to be as big as a vanguard fund, ideally every country will be incented to improve their democracy score to get more capital.
Jonathan DeYoe: So how does, and this is something I don’t think that when we’re investing internationally, I don’t think we’re thinking about how when we invest internationally, we are funding a specific state. So when I buy my em, um, portfolio and it just gets dispersed across, how does that get to China or a state that I may not want to support?
Julie Cane: So the indices decide which companies to be included. And again, it’s back to that same rule we just talked about, share price times, number of shares outstanding. So they’re just looking at company market cap. China has been an emerging, it’s classified as an emerging market. And I want to say there are 30% to 40% in most of those emerging market strategies in the all world x us, they’re at about 10%, and we downweight it to 3%. But again, when you’re looking at your giant international fund, is anyone going in and seeing the country allocations and then diving in further? Well, which securities am I allocated to? We’re trying to raise awareness for that, and again, provide just a simple, easy strategy to replace the current all world Xus strategies out there.
Jonathan DeYoe: So I think most Americans, I haven’t spoken to most Americans, but a lot of the people I’ve spoken to, they just have like a plug. I, uh, have to have a certain percentage international, and I’ll buy an active fund or a passive fund. I don’t really think about it. I just have to have something international. They may get more granular with their domestic stuff, but their international is just like, I need to put something in there. I’m just going to buy a fund or buy an ETF or something like that. How do you break in and try to express, hey, there’s a way that you can do this that may be better for the world?
Julie Cane: Yeah, well, it’s conversations like this and getting in front of people who are worried. Most Americans are worried about democracy. Most people are viewing authoritarians as maybe not our friends, and maybe we should stop sending so much of our investments to support their companies and their economies. And if we can put economic pressure, then they’ll be incented to improve. Now, if you just divest, then you’re no longer incentivizing. That’s why we chose to tilt and not screen out any country, because what, they get better? When do you decide to let them back in? And there’s actually a lot of interesting research out there around. Divesting doesn’t really work over the long term because they’re no longer incented to improve. And in the case of vanilla gas company, it could just go private, and then they’re even more off the books of being influential. Also in the case of oil and gas, interestingly, only 27% of oil and gas companies are on listable exchanges. The rest are with private institutions and stateowned enterprises. So in our case, we’re shifting our oil and gas allocation out of Saudi Arabia and into Norway and Canada, who are more focused on renewables and environmentalism. Et to. Our, uh, ESG score is good compared to the other all world xus indices, because democracies tend to be more focused on ESG as well.
Jonathan DeYoe: I wonder if that’s. Well, I’m not going to go down that rabbit hole right now, so can you make the philosophical case, and I can make it. Um, that’s why I’m having you here, because I’m excited about this. But make the philosophical case for why a democracy might outperform an authoritarian state long term in terms of their economy, and then the companies that are acting inside that economy.
Julie Cane: Sure. Well, the war in Ukraine really brought everything to the forefront. And there is hard research out there that, uh, authoritarians have higher growth volatility, and they have more frequent short term crises. That’s documented. We saw with the education sector, rules can change overnight, and suddenly you have to be a nonprofit. That wouldn’t happen in a democracy. And democracies, however, they enforce rule of law and property rights. There’s a more efficient and transparent use of capital. They have higher per capita GDP. They have better innovation. So our hypothesis is that democracies will outperform authoritarians over the long run, and the companies will try to do their business in countries that support, um, the transparent use of capital. If you own it, you know you own it, you’re not going to suddenly have to be a nonprofit tomorrow. Suddenly, you have to break up all your entities, because there is a common prosperity rule that no one company can be too powerful, for example. So we’re seeing it play out more and more. And what’s interesting is, when we launched this during COVID we were saying, well, you’re not going to give anything up. You can expect the same returns, at least, and support democracy. Well, since we’ve launched, we’ve seen Jack Mall disappeared, and then he reappeared. I like to say, what would happen if Elon Musk just disappeared and then reappeared? What would that do to our stock market? So we’ve seen world events, and we’ve seen relative outperformance as well, since launch. So our story has proven out better than expected. But we’re worried about the trends in democracy. The economist does such a great job every year. They have 60 different indicators that go into the democracy score, and so it’s quite robust, and they’ve been doing it since 2006. So we’re honored to be partnering with them. And we think bringing their methodology into the world of passive international investing could be a very powerful way to raise visibility and, um, give investors the opportunity to fuel the growth of democracies in a very neutral and transparent way.
Jonathan DeYoe: Can you just point to one or two of those 60 items that are within the economists democracy score? What are they looking at?
Julie Cane: Yeah, well, they’re all on my website. They roll up into themes such as electoral process, function of, um, government, political participation, civil liberties, number of women in government, free media, free Internet. Yeah. Interestingly, the US, we stayed the same in our score. But our fund is Xus, by the way, for just the reasons you said before. Most people want to more, um, carefully manage their domestic holdings. So we’re your answer for just XUs International. But I still always get asked, where’s the US? We are a flawed democracy. We stayed the same in our ranking because we went up in political participation, because more people voted, but we went down in functioning of government. So functioning of government is what’s holding our score back right now.
Jonathan DeYoe: I was just going to ask, like, how are we doing? Because I can’t imagine that we’re doing great, but I guess more people participating.
Julie Cane: Is a good, uh, you know. So my chief economist did some really interesting research, and when you look at, uh, population, the US is actually doing pretty well. I mean, we’re one of the largest democracies. Look who’s ahead of us in population. China. India. Nigeria is coming up. Brazil. So for the size of our population, we’re not doing that bad, because the more cultures you have, more languages you have, the harder it is to, you know, Norway, it’s easy for Norway and Sweden. They’ve got one language, one culture, and it’s much easier to have a tight democracy when you have less subcultures to manage.
Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, they do speak more languages than we do, though.
Julie Cane: They do, for sure.
Jonathan DeYoe: It’s interesting that they don’t need to.
Julie Cane: Because maybe that’s their answer. Everyone should learn two or three languages.
Jonathan DeYoe: And that would solve three, four, five. I’m going to see a buddy this summer in Switzerland, and I think he knows four or five languages and not even the same alphabets. Like, the languages are completely different. It’s totally different way to look at the world, I think. So. You mentioned the white paper, like the economist democracy Index white paper. Is that something we can link to in the show notes? I’d like to see if we can’t put that in there somewhere. Is that on your website? We’ll link to that.
Julie Cane: It is on my website. I can get you that pDf.
Jonathan DeYoe: That’d be great.
Julie Cane: Yeah, that’s a good.
Jonathan DeYoe: So you mentioned ESG a little bit ago, and we’ve had a ton of criticism about ESG, which I personally think is ridiculous. But rather than go into that argument, do you think democracy investments? Are you guys an ESG? Do you fit in ESG and M after that? What are your thoughts about that?
Julie Cane: Know, we’re technically not ESG. However, some people say oh, you are. You’re kind of the s for social, and you’re kind of the g for governance. I like to say we’re a whole new category of pact investing. We’re the big g for government. And two thirds of the world’s solar panels are made by forced labor. So you have all these environmental strategies that are not considering human rights violations. So I like to say, if you really want to be full ESG, you should start with democracy and do your tilt for democracy first, and then do your ESG if you want to be sure you’re not supporting solar panels and wind farms made by forced labor. So people who like ESG like our strategy, and then people who are skeptical of ESG also like our strategy because we’re so transparent and easy to measure. We’re walking our talk. There’s no greenwashing. Sadly, there are a lot of ESG strategies that I think the criticism has come about because they’re exploiting it as a marketing tool and they’re not transparent. And then for some people, no more recently, they view ESG means you’re sacrificing returns. So, uh, I don’t think there’s one writing. I think ESG is not going anywhere. There’s a $30 trillion wealth transfer coming for millennials, and they are definitely going to vote with their wallet. And then I have two gen z. I can see they’re even more upset than millennials. So I don’t think ESG is going away, but as, uh, it should, it’s under more scrutiny, and it’s time for the regulators to get involved, and they are. They have a lot of work to do. I think it’s so interesting the different pension funds, like New York City, is being sued for having ESG strategies. West Virginia, Louisiana, and Texas all are restricting contracts with anyone who supports, who has ESG in their strategies. So they’re kicking out Blackrock and then main force divestment of fossil fuels. We’re all over the map as a country right now, whereas in Europe, they’re much more aligned and there’s more regulation. And it’ll be very interesting to see how this unfolds.
Jonathan DeYoe: This just popped into my head, given what you said about the big think. You know, if no one’s used this already, I’m going to be the first one to say this. We need to have an acronym. Eggs. Egs. So environmental, government, and social. All right, so you heard it here first.
Julie Cane: Use that, or we can see. Where’s the d in ESG? There’s my other ESG.
Jonathan DeYoe: I know that much of ESG is worried about the e. Right. And you mentioned earlier something that sort of struck me that I don’t think anybody pays any attention to because we divest from fossil fuels so that we sell out. I think you said 23, 27%. 27%. So we would limit our portfolios by removing oil from the portfolios. But that might affect publicly traded companies. But that doesn’t affect state enterprises or nationalized oil enterprises at all, does it?
Julie Cane: No. And it will encourage those 27% to go private. And then what leverage do we have?
Jonathan DeYoe: That goes right back to why you don’t screen. It’s also why you reduce the weight. You hold it, but reduce the weight we tilt.
Julie Cane: Exactly, that’s exactly why we do that. And um, on the whole ESG issue, interestingly, in the equity markets, the more impactful way to affect the e is in the debt markets and to lobby your bank not to finance coal projects that will have more impact over the long term than divesting of those 27% of the or to tilt. So, um, have hold more BP and less Exxon. So you’re incentivizing Exxon to be more like BP and focus on renewables. That’s the other strategy that could have more.
Jonathan DeYoe: Right, right. So I want to go back to you said earlier, the big challenge in the personal financial world for you has been the launching of a business. So without talking about the specifics of the business itself, what has been the struggle, what has been hard for you in launching the business?
Julie Cane: Well, I think while the timing was good for us in that we have unexpected huge outperformance, uh, for an index fund. And I’m really grateful for that. We came in at a time when the market started to go south, and people that would have normally tried out a new fund maybe were like, no, I’m going to watch it for a while, and maybe I don’t want to get international at all for a while. So we’ve had some headwinds just with our timing in terms of the market cycles. And because we are a whole new category, I think it takes a while for people to get their head around us. It’s been a great few months, though. I’m hopeful that we’re going to see a lot of momentum here coming before year end. And so the big challenge is just getting the word out because we’ve built a scrappy model to compete with the big brands. And so to do that, I don’t have a huge marketing budget. So it’s meetings with advisors like you and I’ve, uh, been talking to all the platforms as well. They’re all aware of us, and they’re just waiting for a one to get to a point where we can start the due diligence process. Then I guess my other interest is that, uh, now that I’m in it, I see the monopoly that the big brands have. And so I really like finding the smaller advisors who maybe aren’t a fan of some of the big brands. And, uh, you’re walking your talk, and that’s something new and creative, and that’s a story I can take to my clients where maybe you’ve got a husband wife on each side of the aisle. How do you bring them together? And this is a strategy that most people can get behind, no matter what your politics. And it’s more of a case for affirming democracy internationally than it is arguing about what we have going on at home. That’s been the positive part. Other challenges, I guess that’s about, uh, it just getting the word out and having the patience to grow slower than I would have liked, and waiting for that moment where we can really get on the platforms and then have a bigger marketing, have a marketing budget where we can get the word out in a professional way.
Jonathan DeYoe: Every small business starts somewhere. So I’ve never even remotely considered the concept of creating a product for the market. I’ve always just used products that are already out there. That’s not true. I actually thought about doing a, uh, slow food product at one point, like building an ETF around the slow food movement, and I had somebody that’s going to help me do it, but it’s just not my space. So I always love chatting with people that have put the boots on and tried to do it, and I wish you the best of luck. Is there anything that you’re working on now that you can tell us about? Is there any other rollouts that are coming?
Julie Cane: Oh, uh, we have a huge product roadmap that I can’t disclose, but it will all be leveraging our license of the economist democracy index, and I’m also hoping to expand in Europe very soon. We have, interestingly, a lot of Nordics, they’re very worried about democracy, and they’d like to see a strategy launched in Norway and Sweden as well. I have a lot of swedish american fans here in the Bay Area, actually, and yeah, we’re toying with some other, actually, it’s where market demand takes us. If people want us to do an ESG strategy, we can do it, and I think we can do one that would be very high impact, that would.
Jonathan DeYoe: Blend the democracy index and ESG.
Julie Cane: Yeah, there’s a way we could do that in the future if there’s client demand for it. So I need people to come tell me they want that product and I will create it. But yeah, basically we have exclusive rights to use the economist democracy index. So there are a lot of very creative ways we can leverage it in more equity strategies, fixed income strategies.
Jonathan DeYoe: I’m curious because I know that there’s this, the last, I think, couple of years there’s been this push towards, what do you call it, individual indexing, where people basically create their own index. Something that’s frustrating to me as an advisor is I want to express a certain portfolio, and I have all of these tools that have their own individual unique expressions, but I don’t have the ability to build a portfolio with these four different expressions. Like, I like value, I like small cap, I love the concept of a democracy index. And I don’t know how to develop this, but how do I go to a place where I can sort of pick off a menu, and that menu creates a portfolio that I can implement for clients that has all of the things that I like that I think are important. I can take a little bit of this. I could have a little democracy, I could have a little ESG, I could have little women on the board do a lot of little things, but nothing that’s sort of overarching across all the different strategies, which is, I think that’s coming. And I think that may have started with this idea of individual indexing.
Julie Cane: Yeah, I think you’re right. I think you’re right. And wow, you’ll have so many flavors to pick from.
Jonathan DeYoe: I know. And then, like you were talking about the small advisor that can tell the story to their clients, then it becomes this, uh, is my story as an advisor, this is what I do. And you can find people that agree with you and just want you to do it. And I think that’s totally custom built.
Julie Cane: Or whatever they care, uh, about.
Jonathan DeYoe: We have this idea of customized medicine. Why not totally customized portfolios? It’s coming, I think it’s probably five years away, and you’ll be an integral part of that. I think a couple of deeply personal questions. One, what was the last thing you changed your mind about? I love the slight side that comes after that question.
Julie Cane: I have to think about that. What is the last thing I changed my mind, uh, about? Well, I recently broke my foot and I was invited to go on a 24 miles very steep hike in Jacksonville, Wyoming, in August with a really. But I know the organizer, but I’m excited to meet the group. Something I’ve really wanted to do, but, uh, I thought, I’ll be irresponsible. Can’t do it. Can’t do it. Well, I just changed my mind. I’m doing it, and I’ve started physical therapy, and I have an interval training plan, and I’m going to be there. Maybe the last one in, but that’s okay. I’ll be in Jackson hole on August 5.
Jonathan DeYoe: You’re doing the hard one doing it. We talked last week and you were going the short route last time we talked. Uh, you did just change your mind about that one. That’s awesome.
Julie Cane: I forgot. I told you.
Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, you did. You told me you weren’t going to do it. You told me you were not going to. So now we have proof of mind change. That’s, I think, the first opportunity we’ve had here.
Julie Cane: Yeah, clearly it was bothering me, and I told everybody about it.
Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, well, we’ll see how it goes. I hope you don’t injure yourself further.
Julie Cane: Thank you.
Jonathan DeYoe: Can you name a place that you visited that’s had, and I’m wondering this, because mainly democracy, lots of international locations. Can you name some place you visited that really had an impact on you? And what was that impact?
Julie Cane: Well, my first duty station was subic bay in the Philippines. And, uh, they were worried about a coup. So I had all kinds of really interesting missions to. We were showing our presence in a very interesting way. And, yeah, seeing what it’s like to live in a third world country. I’ve never been more grateful to live in a democracy. I mean, just the smell of the sewage and watching the children barely clothed, and I got to take medical supplies to victims of Mount Pinatubo, really showing my age. So that probably had the biggest impact on, uh, just living and breathing in another society like that. Uh, and being on the front line of helping the villagers. Yeah, that definitely had the most impact. And then I’ve been fortunate to travel through Europe on vacation and see beautiful democracies, beautiful countries. And, uh, so definitely some of the, those experiences are part of the inspiration behind our fund and our strategy.
Jonathan DeYoe: Great. Tell us, or tell our listeners how they can connect with you and find out about democracy Investments International index.
Julie Cane: Oh, well, you can find me on LinkedIn, Julie Kane Cane. And there’s more information on our website, which is ww dot democracyinvestments.com. And you can also look us up our ticker symbol is DMCY M. Remember the song YMCA DMCY. And yeah, I’d love to hear from you. I really enjoy feedback, especially from folks that are not in the financial world because the creativity that comes there has been super helpful. Please reach out. My chief economist is actually in Oakland and he has a lot of really interesting research and we are often invited to do webinars. So if there’s a investment club or any kind of club that wants to talk about what’s going on geopolitically in the world, we’re happy to take that on and share fresh research.
Jonathan DeYoe: Awesome. Julie, thanks very much for coming on. I enjoyed it. I learned something and I hope everyone else did as well.
Julie Cane: Thank you so much, Jonathan. It was a pleasure.