I was exposed to saving and personal finance early on in life. My parents helped me open a bank account when I was a child, and I invested my meager savings in national savings bonds.
As a teenager, my education was well-rounded. I tried my hand at all sorts of subjects, including science, mathematics, creative writing, music, and visual arts. But when it came to choosing a career path at the end of high school, I decided to become an accountant because I was good with numbers. I also remember thinking that the world would always need accountants.
I studied mathematics in university and majored in accounting, and later earned a post-graduate degree. I even learned how to code, as computer science was a significant component of the math faculty in my university. I can’t say I recall having much exposure to investing during my university years other than a course on corporate finance, the real-life application of which I wouldn’t realize until much later on in my career.
My studies landed me a job with a global accounting firm, where I spent my days auditing financial information and meeting with finance teams and chief financial officers of entrepreneurial companies.
Working for a global accounting firm opened the door to Europe. I relocated to the UK with my firm, and there I first had exposure to mergers and acquisitions, private equity, and corporate finance. I became a corporate finance advisor in London, working with and advising entrepreneurs who were buying companies, selling them, or raising finance. But after a couple of years of advising and recommending, I wanted to understand investment decision making better. I wanted to get up close with investment capital, and be directly involved in the decisions about how it would be invested.
My desire to understand the investment decision-making process in greater detail became a driving force in my career. This guided me toward investment banking, and later to where I am now—designing, building, and leading new venture funds and applying a more integrated approach to investment decision making for both myself and my clients. I am excited and passionate to share what I know about integrated decision making with others because it’s a better, more holistic, purpose-driven approach that anyone can apply to their investment activities and benefit from in the form of financial, impact, and social returns.
Integrated decision making is linking, coordinating, and combining inputs and information from multiple sources to choose a course of action, including analysis, and your emotions, body, and intuition. Integrated investing specifically applies decision making to the activity of investing and combines motivations, mindsets, and tools for yielding integrated investment returns.
We are at a turning point in the economy and society, when the old approaches to investment decision making have failed us. To embrace a new idea or concept requires us to let go of analysis, just for a moment. Suspend your disbelief that investment decision making is only about analysis. We must also engage emotion and intuition, and pay closer attention to our bodies, to make sound investment decisions. In the absence of all other information, integrated decision making is where you start and what will help you make decisions even when facing the most complex investing dilemmas.
For example, you could apply integrated decision making when you meet an entrepreneur and learn about their venture, and you are evaluating whether or not it is an investment opportunity you should pursue. This specific point in the investment decision-making path already has a lot of complexity. At this point you’re wondering if you like the entrepreneur, whether you can work with them and their team, whether the venture is going to succeed in having a meaningful positive impact, and whether it will be economically viable and profitable.
Integrating information from analysis, emotion, body, and intuition will help you answer these questions more quickly and confidently.
Bonnie Foley-Wong is the author of Integrated Investing, founder of Pique Ventures and founding investor in Pique Fund. Over the course of her career, she has financed over $1 billion dollars of alternative investments in Europe and North America.