If you’re like most people, you may not have realized that fish farm finance is somewhat unfixed at the moment. We talk with Scoot Science CIO Grant Cavanaugh about why that is.


[00:00:00] If you're like most people, you probably haven't realized that fish farm finance is completely unfixed at the moment. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Sorry. I had this wholly drove out like from Frankfurt to

and I don't know. Alliteration is need, uh, but so is this episode, I'm still on cartel. This is the free money podcast. And we're talking about fish, farm finance. Um, our guest is grant Kavanaugh. He is the guy you'd want to talk to about this.

We'll talk to them about how the, how fish farms differ from traditional fishing, where you take the boat into the ocean and like get fished that way. Um, and the sustainability difference between agriculture and traditional fishing of folks who are, you know, watched see spirits and various other things might be aware that fishing fleets are huge contributors to ocean microplastics.

Um, then we'll talk about the return equation, why private equity folks and institutional investors haven't like crowded in and reduced returns over time. And what sorts of [00:01:00] opportunities there are to deploy catalytic. Uh, Capitol in agriculture. Um, then as usual we take questions from you, which is just, I think so cool of us, right? Like accessible. Hello. Um,

If you want to ask a question. Free money pod@gmail.com at your convenience. This week we answer how much stock do you put into those various pension indices that compare various countries on a range of things. Um, Can you think of a time when someone really put the douche in fiduciary?

What was, and is the circumstance and would you ever grow mushrooms?

These are all questions that are at the center. Of every investment committee's deliberations right now. Um, thank you for joining us for another delightfully investible episode of the free money podcast. I'll catch you on the other side of the disclaimer take it away shark bait

Sharkbait buckley: Uh, Hawaii free money podcast listeners. I am shark bait, Buckley, the disclosure pirate, and I'm here to set these straight about what's [00:02:00] going on with this here. Show Sloan Ortel works, very invest vegan LLC and New York registered investment advisor. Ashby monk works for Stanford university at a par future-proof long game and various startup.

All opinions expressed by either Sloan or Ashby are entirely their own and do not reflect the opinions of their crew or any company clients. So invest vegan may maintain positions in securities and strategies discussed in this podcast. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where invest vegan minutes representatives are properly licensed or exempted under client agreement has been executed.

Sloane Ortel: Welcome to the free money podcast where we give you the Brooklyn bury [00:03:00] a consensus about the coughing, right. As we

Ashby Monk: were

Sloane Ortel: craving SWAT. Oh yeah. I, I, uh, I, you know, I got a little too excited there and I, you know, I just, my voice can take it,

Ashby Monk: you know, just because I think Sloan, the craving is real. Yeah.

Sloane Ortel: I do it in podcasting and this is an athletic pursuit. I don't think that many people give it credit for that.

Ashby Monk: That's true.

You know, you have to kind of get yourself pumped up a little bit, you know, you were feeling down, you gotta look at the mirror and say, you're smart enough, you know,

Sloane Ortel: have you ever done affirmation? Uh,

Ashby Monk: no, I haven't, but they have some man in the mirror very loud to myself. Uh, it's gonna make a difference.

Can I

Sloane Ortel: make a right? I mean, the crazy thing about affirmations is that they actually do work. Uh it's so, I mean, like, you know, it makes [00:04:00] sense that, you know, we're basically monkeys and we can just sort of be like, I deserve this and I am smart and talented and whatever. Uh, but yeah,

Ashby Monk: yeah, I can think of is the us Senator who used to just be a comedian.

Al Franken staring at the mirror on SNL. You're good enough. You see, gosh, darn it. People like you

Sloane Ortel: or something like that. And you know, what's amazing about that character is that the, their outfit has stayed roughly the same amount of cool until now where it has become the coolest thing in the entire world.

It's not just a sweater. Yeah, this is sweater, but it's a special, it's a special kind of sweat. You can't just buy any sweater and you've, you know, that level, you got to get a norm core precision guided missile into the sweater department. It's hilarious.

Ashby Monk: Definitely at the top here. Are you doing

Sloane Ortel: okay?

Yeah. Um, yeah, you know, we recover. Um, did we talk about dead friends last time? I [00:05:00] forget.

Ashby Monk: I think that was technically two episodes

Sloane Ortel: ago. It's like, you know, this is the, the dead friends and related parties and uh, yeah, at the

Ashby Monk: top here, we just take care of the business.

Sloane Ortel: I know you lost somebody close to you.

I was, yeah. I mean, w you know, one of my best friends in high school I've ever roommate, uh, you know, died of a heart attack unexpectedly recently. And like this episode was actually, you know, rescheduled. So, you know, we got to know, well, thank you. Thank you. Thank the fam and the free money, uh, you know, family for, for bearing with us as I was too sad.

It's horrible. Yeah. I mean, I feel like it's important to talk about grieving though. I mean, like if you set the example, you know, without realizing that we were entering a new death related phase on the free money podcast, a couple of episodes ago,

Ashby Monk: you know, we're all gonna die soon. Yup. We are. I mean, I don't know if the listeners are aware of that.

And sometimes, [00:06:00] you know, there's a whole lot of work in like the Zen world that is like, just acknowledging that we are here for a period of time is empowering and there's nothing like having somebody close to you, you know? And so I, sometimes I heard this great interview with Cole bear, um, once where he was like, I am actually grateful of all the losses I've had.

And I was like, that sounds crazy. But I think I am now to. It is grounding. It is a reminder of how precious this all is. And I take, for example, this moment, Sloan more, you know, I have more compassion and more interest in being here in this moment then maybe I dunno.

Sloane Ortel: Yeah, no, I think that, that is totally real.

Like I, you know, once you, once you've lived long enough to have seen some shit.

Ashby Monk: Yeah. Because we didn't live through Nam. You know what I mean? We weren't,

Sloane Ortel: yeah. We got soft hands here on the freeway podcasts actually. Cause we gardened Dallas's good. Tells us, [00:07:00]

Ashby Monk: oh, I gotta get that. Oops.

Sloane Ortel: That's your tip today?

I mean, well, I'm just, I bound with gardening wisdom today. I, you know, it's spring, I'm the very spirit of Demeter herself. Let's get to the news though. I did. Let's talk about actuary.

Ashby Monk: Um, no, this one is here we go. The country of Mozambique. Ooh, no Sloan. That is that country.

Sloane Ortel: I

Ashby Monk: don't, I admit that when I, the reason I ask you that is because I caught myself out. I was like, you know, I know it subs hard in Africa, but I think it's over there down on the left. I was wrong. It's on the right. Yup. Borders, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia. And so Mozambique is for [00:08:00] those of you that don't know the third poorest country in.

And yet it has intended to establish a sovereign wealth fund for some time now and now that their natural gas exports are about to come online. Um, the sovereign fund will be taking deposits by October and, uh, I think it was the minister of finance, max tau Nella. We're doing a research, good name. Um, very well buttoned up story here.

Max says is fun. Could be $96 billion. Oh,

Sloane Ortel: okay. Yeah. You know, that seems a little weirdly precise for like a, obviously plucked out. I mean, like, you know, why don't I need to figure out is

Ashby Monk: this like the 40 year projection, like our net zero friends,

Sloane Ortel: um,

Ashby Monk: or is this like soon? Either way? I couldn't figure that out because I only looked at one story.

So I didn't really follow the thread of the story all the way to the end. [00:09:00] Uh, but they've talking about 96 billion. Some people might like to know that these like low-income countries, poor countries establish these funds, um, to avoid what is called Dutch disease, which goes back to the Netherlands and the realization that if you are a commodity Xsporter, um, you can harm the value of your currency.

Um, which in which well increase the value of your currency, which harms your domestic exports. Yeah. The resource curse, the resource curse. Yeah. That's the Dutch disease, you know about that. And so you establish these funds, you hold the assets off shore and you only onshore the assets, the financial assets when your country has the capacity to handle it.

And so this is actually, even though it sounds crazy that the third poorest country on earth would establish a $96 billion sovereign fund. It actually makes sense. And my guess is the IMF and the world bank will be pleased to hear this.

Sloane Ortel: Yep. Yeah. That's definitely like one of the things like, I mean, you [00:10:00] know, if the, if the IMF and the world bank are like, you know, kind of.

The doting slash cajoling, grandparents of international development, finance, like starting a sovereign fund, seems like one of those things that it's like the starting to journal, you know, like it makes, it makes your grandparents very happy.

Ashby Monk: Are you journaling?

Sloane Ortel: Yeah, exactly. You got it. I'm going to be so glad someday when you look back and you just, you know, you will, you'll forget.

You'll forget all the things. I don't know. My grandmother grandmother's up somewhere.

Ashby Monk: You'll forget. You'll forget. Yeah, no, y'all new hot. That's my body. I just said no, you're not. Okay. Now we're going to go straight to Oman, Oman, Oman. Oh man. Sorry. That was good.

Ah, The town of musket, where I've been two times

Sloane Ortel: I to go there so badly, it's supposed to have such cool low [00:11:00] places I drive

Ashby Monk: in. And it's like Portuguese monuments up in the mountains above this, like middle Eastern, um, beautiful like architecture place. I mean, like, I think when the Islamic countries come together, I think they come to musket.

I think there is a giant like meeting venue there. Anyway, I could be wrong because we don't do the research here, which is report out on what we know. Um, but Oman in 2020 decided to merge the Oman investment fund and the state general reserve fund to, um, enjoy the benefits of scale and build the Oman investment authority.

Um, very similar to the Abu Dhabi investment authority. Uh, correct, but on April 24th, um, his excellently Abdul Alma Sheedy, who I've met when I went to the Oman, um, has said we are going to split up [00:12:00] this into two portfolios, uh, one for domestic development and one for international assets. And to me, that sounds a little bit like going back to what they had, that's what they had before they did the murder.

So I thought that was newsworthy for our little community. Didn't know that. I see what they're doing. Yeah. They did the merger and then they're like, it was kind of good before. Um,

Sloane Ortel: I liked how we just had a pool of money that we could go to when we wanted like a stadium built or something that

Ashby Monk: this is the amount of investment fund and it was domestic.

And it invested in, you know, domestic development,

Sloane Ortel: probably stadium, not a great example of domestic development where the stadium is like, you know, if you want to like, literally set your money on fire. Uh, it's the, uh, I don't know what, what a good worst thing is, but it's the, I dunno, frozen hot pocket of.

Ashby Monk: [00:13:00] deep to find something bad. Not everybody will see the hot pocket as bad. Some people enjoy them, even though it burns your

Sloane Ortel: lips. No, but when I'm talking about like, when you think it's cooked, but it's not really cooked and you're like through the hot, and then there's a little piece of coal that's miserable.

Ashby Monk: Yeah. That's when you thought you were going to create jobs in the local community and all you have is a $300 million bond.

Sloane Ortel: Yup.

Ashby Monk: Yup. Exactly. It's like a word it's a wasteland around the stadium that like, nobody goes to any next stories about women, the world population. That's not my story, but that's

Sloane Ortel: something I think about these women.


Ashby Monk: think that's true. They're out there. Uh, this one I need to get serious because I don't want to be laughing while I say this in case it's taken out of context. Um, according to a study by the official monetary and financial. Also known as, uh, women, sadly, aren't [00:14:00] making progress towards, um, blending high level powerful jobs in the financial services industry.

Um, and has something called a gender balance index, which I thought is interesting. Uh, this year is the ninth running edition of the gender balance index. And I figured like we shouldn't be tracking that index. Yeah. I'm glad that good for home for, for like collecting the data, they track 335 institutions.

So wow. Off of is doing some data

Sloane Ortel: analysis out there. And these are, these are asset owners or asset managers. They're just big employers.

Ashby Monk: I'm pretty sure it's one of the things you said I have

Sloane Ortel: making it to the threat. So it's finance organizations we're tracking. Okay. You know

Ashby Monk: what it says it in the. Uh, central banks, commercial banks, sovereign wealth funds, public pension plans.

Sloane Ortel: That's dust. Okay. So I would expect that to be slightly more gender balanced than the industry as a whole

Ashby Monk: true statement. They're not doing hedge funds. Yeah. This is a very true statement. [00:15:00] Um, this year it's ninth running more than half the organizations saw their scores drop, not even a steady,

not sick ladies. This is depressing.

Uh, I can remember being in like fourth grade when somebody was like, that's bad. What like actually bad? No, like, no, like bad means cool down. And I was saying, this has got too far, EDU, anyway, this is bad here because one in 10 institutions surveyed had no women at all in senior management or in the boardroom.

Wow. And if you hear me poking my desk in the background, cause I'm pretty upset about that. I think it's and hopefully organizations like BlackRock, which have said they won't invest in companies that don't have 30%, [00:16:00] a board diversity, which they defined as people of color and women. And we joked that's the goal.

It's not 50%, but anyone who at least they're setting the target at 30%, there's one 10% have zero points.

Sloane Ortel: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, like, I think that they could all take an example from us at the free money podcasts. I mean, we're about to do diversity by having our first male interview. We had like a year,


Ashby Monk: six. I, my other favorite quote is 60% of the time. It works every time

Sloane Ortel: well speak. I mean, like, you know, we've got a guy who works. I mean, today we got a sick way that works. Yeah. Yeah. So we're talking about, I mean, we're talking about fish farms and this is really fascinating. Well, let, let's let grant in here and you can tell us why the heck, you know, we would, we would be talking about this, uh, um,

Ashby Monk: grant.

Perfect. He's not here.

Sloane Ortel: He knows we were put this show. [00:17:00] You we're hoping for a

Ashby Monk: technical glitch that would've been on. Brandon.

Sloane Ortel: See you grant, can

Grant Cavanaugh: you, can you hear me? Am I, am I a.

Ashby Monk: Oh, yeah, no, your brew, which is shocking. Cause, uh, yeah, no, we got you. We saw your mug, but the audience can't see you. So we, what we do is we describe you, you're wearing a nice sport coat.

You've got a green shirt on.

Sloane Ortel: There you go. Uh, and, and there's like, um, there's like standing over a trashcan fingerless gloves, which are really a,

Grant Cavanaugh: I prefer to think of them as Flashdance, my hands.

Ashby Monk: That is for your head. Oh, big Flashdance here.

Sloane Ortel: So I agree. I mean, like I, you know, w w we did as usual, a very elegant segway here, and I, you know, um, I, I, I think that, like, you and I worked together on this, on this report and all this, but like, [00:18:00] maybe like, just to kind of level set and like get the audience into what the heck is going on with the fish farm finance and why we got to fake.

Um, like

Ashby Monk: how do we free money to the fish?

Grant Cavanaugh: Yeah. Okay. Great. All right. Well, um, maybe the best place to start is, uh, is going back, like basically to the beginning of my life, which is an interesting kind of early eighties. Flashdance is in theaters. Um, and thanks. Yeah, well, we're just at the beginning of the satellite era.

So that's, um, where a lot of our research and understanding of the climate really starts to pick up steam it's once in the early 1980s, when we have kind of comprehensive coverage of the world in terms of a lot of geospatial and physical processes. And that was also a time for, for the same reasons, that [00:19:00] same technology that allowed us to look at the whole world allowed us to fish like crazy.

Um, and so we've gotten to a point where we'd more or less over fished, a lot of, uh, the world's main fisheries. So in 19 82, 83, that was a really big El Nino year. And it was so big and bad, the overfishing, uh, at that time and crew that the entire Probean anchovy, uh, industry collapsed and was nationalized.

So all of the, the biggest, uh, some of the biggest, um, you know, uh, oceanic fish groups in the world were nationalized because they were functionally bankrupt after this big climate event. And that, that was a time when China was. Large and per capita consumption, but hardly existed on the world stage. You know, only 10% of the world's fish was consumed by China at the time.

And, um, and it was basically all wild [00:20:00] catch. We didn't really have aquaculture. Well, uh, at that exact moment, there was a whole bunch of random Norwegian families and Scottish families who were playing around with throwing fishmeal into the ocean, in to, uh, salmon in cages to see, you know, what would happen.

And so, um, you can fast forward. 30 plus years, um, Flashdance is as relevant as ever, uh, and fair. And roughly two thirds, roughly two thirds of our fish come from agriculture today. Um, and that's about, you know, uh, 16% of animal protein overall. And, uh, and so we've, uh, just since 2000, we've tripled the volume of aquaculture in the world.

[00:21:00] Well, uh, the, the, the amount of fish that we catch from forage, so like those Peruvian anchovies has fallen by about a third. And, um, and China is what China is today, which is absolutely dominates world consumption of fish. And despite all that growth. The entire industry's sort of still remains weirdly financed by a small set of functionally, you know, Norwegian folks.

Um, there's kind of three Northern European banks that, that dominate the financing for these operations globally. And those are, uh, DNB, Nordea and Rabobank. So large banks on a regional basis, but not the largest banks in the world. And they provide this, this financing and they have a real bias towards the species and locations where they feel most [00:22:00] comfortable, which tends to be Northern Europe and, um, in a select group of fishes.

And if you're an economist, you know that whenever you get, see. Financing, right. That's associated with a capital constraint and capital constraints are what, for me, what makes for extraordinary never-ending seeming, uh, profit opportunities, whether it's a capital constraint in terms of a monopoly or something like that?

Well, sure enough salmon has had something like 24% return on invested capital over the last 20 or so years, which is enough to make it, you know, a portfolio of salmon assets would perform as well or better as, you know, the best picks stocks and, uh, us or European, um, uh, public markets. So if you had just, if your pension fund had just bought the licenses [00:23:00] to a whole bunch of salmon farms in, uh, even 2000, you would have, uh, made a really extraordinary return.

And, uh, and people notice that, but, uh, and, and that segues into a little bit like Bain's experience in these markets, but maybe I'll, I'll stop there and ask if, if you guys have any questions about my 30 or 40 year history of, of, of fisheries,

Sloane Ortel: uh, I'm having a lot of fun picturing like a Scottish guy throwing fish salmon meal into, into the ocean, just like, you know.

Yeah. Yeah. I, I, I'm not gonna see

Ashby Monk: monster comes out or we're going to start a new industry.

Sloane Ortel: Yeah, yeah, exactly. I mean, like, it's sort of like, you know, in Silicon valley, you're like in a garage in Scotland, you're just like, you know, throwing fishmeal into the, into the ocean. I, you know, but like, I think like one of the things I want to make sure and ask about is like, it seems like there's this [00:24:00] inherent, like sustainability Lincoln, Um, you know, whenever we think about like how data is coming to bear here, right?

Cause like you mentioned, like the big black Swan event was this like climate linked, you know, bankruptcy of all of these Peruvian, uh, anchovies, I believe. Um, you know, and so like I, you know, I guess talk to us a little bit about that. I know that like, you know, for instance, you know, a lot of people who've seen see spirits, you're like out here thinking, well, you know, fishing nets are filling the ocean with microplastics.

Ah, um, but yeah. How do you see this whole sustainability question and this? Um,

Grant Cavanaugh: yeah, so, I mean, One important benchmark for sustainability in general, that a lot of people are looking at across a bunch of different industries is how fast has there been progress, like as there been appreciable progress and, and maybe, you know, maybe in certain parts of the energy world, you'd say, well, it doesn't really [00:25:00] matter if there's progress.

All this progress almost necessarily has to level out it a carbon footprint and environmental footprint that we just can't accept for the long run. Like even if you're making rapid progress, there's going to be limits to that progress. And we just can't tolerate it. I don't think that's the case in, in agriculture more generally.

Um, so salmon's a really good example in my kinda, when I first went into college, um, was reading papers about this for the first time, I was kind of fascinated going, going way back. I'm kind of a weenie for this sort of stuff. You know, I'm the type person who did read those papers. And I remember, um, kind of in around 2000 when agriculture in general, but salmon agriculture in particular was sort of taking off in terms of its contribution to our global consumption.

Um, there was a lot of concern, like this might be the equivalent of the ocean [00:26:00] equivalent of like a, uh, Exxon, right? Like an operation that, that just at no point in the future could ever meaningfully contribute in a positive way to our overall, um, Uh, wellbeing, you know, as, as a, as a global society and in my lifetime, uh, the, the ratio, one of the most important ratios in terms of the footprint of salmon.

So it's called fish in fish out. So it's the, it's the, in kilograms, the, uh, amount of fish, uh, meal that you put into the system versus how many kilograms of salmon you get out. And, uh, that number has gone from something like 2.8 around 2002 0.8. So that means that we were burning, you know, two kilograms of fish just to create one kilogram of salmon in 2000 and today, uh, salmon on a whole is a net producer [00:27:00] of fish in, and that's, that's the difference has made up for by, by soy, in many cases and other plant-based proteins.

So, you know, you just have to add. Are you getting over really important thresholds that are meaningful like that, that one for one where you're actually on net creating fish for the world. And, you know, too, is just that rate of progress. That rate of progress has been exceptional. And, and today, if you look around, you probably see very few industries that have a higher percentage of green bonds or green loan facilities financing, their overall operations.

You know, I making, I'm making fun, a little bit of the cabal of Norwegian and Northern European banks that support this industry. But one thing that they've done an exceptional job at is, is, uh, routing a lot of interest and focus towards explicit green mechanisms built into their financing.

Sloane Ortel: You mentioned that Bain had [00:28:00] not that good of a time though, when they tried to get into this, uh, like, you know, I mean, surely no one on this podcast would like to hear a story about a private equity firm having a hard time.

Grant Cavanaugh: Yeah. I mean, I mean, I'm S I'm S there's part of me that's somewhat sympathetic to these folks because they started with what I think is a pretty good idea. I mean, we work really hard to write up a a hundred page paper that details, and a lot of, of why you'd want to consider this as, as a really exceptional investment.

But, uh, but the devil is in those details and, you know, our, our team of oceanographers has real expertise on some important dimensions of how this industry works. And I would imagine that that's not true of some MBAs in Boston. Uh, actually, there's, there's plenty of. [00:29:00] Educated folks all over Boston. I'm from Boston.

So I'm very partial to the city, but my guess is that they didn't have as strong a command of some of the technical, uh, nuances of the industry that they were walking into. And additionally, there's always, when you're the first mover, some sort of. Maybe adverse selection problem, where the folks who are willing to sell you an asset that seemingly is an ATM for printing returns are probably the first ones to say yes to that, to that offer are probably the ones you shouldn't buy from.

So in Bain's case, they bought a mid to large size Chilean operator, uh, about seven or eight years ago on the back of some success in turning around a feed producer. And, um, the real exceptional returns are in that primary production owning those farms. And, uh, and Bain had seen this and on that back of it that they said, all right, well, it's time to go in.

What [00:30:00] they found was that the operators were lying systematically about mortalities to regulators and modifying the seabeds in ways that were illegal. It was exposed through this big, uh, uh, excellent work of investigative journalism on the part of some, some choy, newspapers, and fast forward to now they're seven or eight years into their, uh, adventure.

It, uh, in addition to losing a bunch of different licenses and having to pay some very large fines, um, I, you know, I think all of that has been a real distraction from actually, uh, uh, growing efficient, you know, growing an efficient operation and their operation has continued to have real problems. So, you know, in a highly volatile industry, a group with a five to seven year time horizon, uh, even if, even if they're, they're working on the promise of really great returns, Might [00:31:00] still their time horizon and their attention to detail just might not be great enough, um, to overcome the challenges there, which is kind of what we ultimately like to help with from, for, you know, sustainability minded investors.

Ashby Monk: I just think it's so interesting to hear the 24% number that you threw out there on, on salmon performance. Um, I've looked at something called blue bonds, which I think are interesting. Bond is an interesting name for bond blue bond. Um, and it's about clean water. You know, you know, if you need me to clear up the, the, the name there, it's clean water, the blue bond.

And obviously there's a lot of water issues around fisheries and commercial fishing, but I, I want to just understand. The like performance opportunities. Cause another non-sequitur here is in college. I had a couple of friends that would go fishing in Alaska and [00:32:00] seemingly like come back every, every fall with more money than they knew what to do with, um, like they were literally drunken sailors when they got back because they had, you know, 30 or 40 grand.

So I guess what I'm wondering is like, is commercial fishing just a very lucrative thing to be doing in the world? Like generally. And then beyond that, when you start thinking about non boat fishing and the fisheries, like what geographies do people go after it? And I guess what I'm trying to understand is how do you access it as an investor?

Like, do I need to go build these things? Like, is there Greenfield risk? And I have to actually build artists. Is there like an ETL fisheries ETF? So I'm sorry. That was a lot of different things I just threw at you. Hopefully you're taking notes. Yeah,

Grant Cavanaugh: there was a few questions in

Ashby Monk: there. So I do that to people.

Grant Cavanaugh: So one of your questions was just like, is fisheries across the board, really, uh, an extraordinary opportunity. And I think one of [00:33:00] the reasons that institutional investors have a hard time accessing these returns is because you can't boil it down to a simple lesson like that, right? You can't say, uh, fisheries across the board is a great opportunity.

There are definitely fisheries in the world where, um, there's not, uh, there's not really good underlying economics. And actually, if you'll permit me, I'll give you a little detour on supply and demand in, in salmon and why what's driving those returns. So, um, so supply in the short-term is more or less fixed.

It takes two years to grow a salmon up to market weight. So, you know, the decision to produce salmon or not. You know, it's, it's like people are talking about with the disruptions to world energy markets right now, a lot of the decisions about supply were made two years ago, and you can't really change them in the short term in terms of demand.

I mean, [00:34:00] it's, it's also very similar in the sense that. Um, demand is not very sensitive to price. You know, you kind of just want, if, if you want your bagel, you just kind of want your bagel with lox. It's a, it's a luxury. Good. It doesn't really matter if it's double the price, it's still going to be a luxury good either way.

Um, and, uh, and so, uh, so whenever you have that circumstance where supply is relatively fixed in the short term and demands relatively insensitive to price you're, you can see huge disruptions like in salmon markets. Um, the prices have more than doubled in the last couple, uh, the last couple months, um, I thought you were going

Ashby Monk: to say, yeah, yeah.

Grant Cavanaugh: I could, I can pull it out, but, but we're going, you know, but it was not too long ago that we were $5 per kilogram of salmon, maybe, uh, yeah, maybe in the fall and now we're at 12. [00:35:00] So it, it, it has exactly the same type of, uh, uh, economics that electricity production has. For example, one of the weird things about electricity is it has to be consumed at exactly the same moment it's produced, right?

Supply and demand, half the balance. And that's true of salmon too. You can't really store it. It loses tons of its value as soon as you freeze it. So fresh salmon is how most people consume it. And so it needs to be consumed within a couple of weeks of it being taken out of the sea. So supply and demand always have to balance.

And that creates these interesting economics. I

Ashby Monk: do anomaly smoked salmon though.

Grant Cavanaugh: Yep. Okay. Well, yes, you can have value added products. That'll add some shelf life, but even your smoked salmon, it's not, I mean, there's not, it's not going to shelf stable. Yeah. Well, think of it this way. Like you, you can go into a seven 11 and get beef jerky.

That's been [00:36:00] sitting on the, uh, on the shelf for months potentially. Right. That's doesn't really work for smoked salmon. Maybe there are some exceptions of salmon jerky, but that we don't really

Sloane Ortel: slim Jim, uh, salmon Jim

Grant Cavanaugh: ship. Maybe

Ashby Monk: not, maybe jokes are good.

Grant Cavanaugh: I don't know. Maybe somebody likes

Ashby Monk: that. Uh, okay. But just to get, just to nail this. If I want to start investing in salmon, I don't know if you're done with your detour yet, but I want to figure out how to get access to this little space. Do I have to buy the bonds from Rabobank?

Grant Cavanaugh: Um, well, that's, that's one opportunity, right?

And functionally they're kind of gatekeepers today. Um, so, so I think ultimately what you'd want is, uh, for a suite of models, let's say by a company, mostly populated with [00:37:00] oceanographers who, uh, monetize understanding of

Sloane Ortel: this. So only there were somebody who could help us with access to this data. I mean, yeah.

Grant Cavanaugh: I mean, what do you mean for a good example? Yeah, I know, I know a really good example is, uh, is, uh, Catastrophe finance. So if you go back to the wake of hurricane Andrew, hurricane Andrew came through, it destroyed a lot of capital within the reinsurance industry. And in the years after that, in particular, a lot of reinsurers made a lot of money.

You'll see Warren buffet, you know, um, crowing about how much money he was making in the world of re-insurance in the wake of hurricane Andrew and 1992. Well, at the same time, a lot of, um, uh, structural engineers were hard at work building quantitative models that basically simulated a house, getting [00:38:00] smashed by a hurricane.

And on that basis, they really democratized understanding of this industry and through a select group of investment funds slowly but surely a large amount of pension fund money. Moved into the world of catastrophe insurance and re-insurance to the point where a lot of pension funds and endowments will have one or 2% of their assets in catastrophe, uh re-insurance today or, or some form of, of insurance type, uh, uh, capital.

And so the GPS in that circumstance were kind of, um, they were curating the output of these modelers. So the modelers had the real capability that was democratizing finance and LPs at the time were not informed consumers of those models. So they [00:39:00] needed GPS to stand in between them and the underlying risk.

But fast forward to today where. Catastrophe finance is not some extraordinary, um, um, money-making opportunity. It's kind of a normalized piece of up institutional portfolio. Like I said, one or 2% overall, and a lot of LPs are sophisticated enough investors that they're just buying the catastrophe models themselves.

So if you look at Canadian pension funds or Australian supers, or a bunch of funds in the Netherlands, like they are as sophisticated buyers of that type of intelligence as anybody else in the marketplace. And, um, and so they're cutting out as many middleman as they can, uh, in terms of accessing the.

Underlying risks. That's made possible by a new suite of models. And [00:40:00] we'd like to see the same sort of progression in the world of, of aquaculture. And ocean-based finance in general is have a suite of models and try and connect them to the most sophisticated people who today might, might be actually capable of seeing a new model and understanding what, what that unlocks in terms of financing.

Ashby Monk: That's interesting. You just mentioned a bunch of asset owner investors, um, where I would, I would think of what you are describing in the. Agriculture space as like a classical alternative market where you need kind of a specialized intermediary. Now I'm not saying that the big asset owners wouldn't be there eventually.

Like if you look at who owns Timberland today, or, um, you know, who owns infrastructure, although agriculture is still a bit of a laggard, I would say, and I would expect to act CWA culture. Even behind that. Um, the asset owners are there [00:41:00] they're long duration assets, but it takes a specialized team like Nuveen, which was Tia has done a very good job with agriculture.

But asset managers to do that. And so when I think about your space, you're talking about 24% returns. You need incredible domain knowledge. You need to subscribe to your data and your models to be really smart. We'll give you a plug here. No worry. This is the

Sloane Ortel: time. This is what we do. I I've I've I spent a lot of time with this paper.

It's great. Like there's this

Ashby Monk: and the related party. We're going to just go by grants data. If you want to make 1% a year. I think we can say that. Well,

Sloane Ortel: yeah. Well, I mean, like when we were working in the paper, I was like, Hey, what if you guys just start a fund of your own? But my point is,

Ashby Monk: this is a classic alternative industry where it's, it's like, the information is hard to get the market is opaque.

People have lost their shirts, doing it wrong. And so isn't that, I mean, wasn't being the right type of [00:42:00] actor to go after it actually, rather than the candidate pension plan. I mean, I liked Canada pension plan.

Grant Cavanaugh: I mean conceivably, conceivably, but I think that, uh, that, uh, that there are a lot of sophisticated folks out there who, um, are genuinely interested.

I, I think that the rate of progress and ask me, I mean, you're much closer to these institutional allocators than I am, but my impression is they're getting up to speed with a lot of the specialized managers that they'd be working towards that it's not crazy to imagine that in 10 years time they'd be as sophisticated in terms of frontline opportunities, navigating frontline opportunities as the actual, um, Uh, GPS themselves, which isn't to say that we wouldn't work with GPS, but you know, there's part of me that, that, uh, inherently just like loves working, uh, with the, the lowest cost provider that loves working [00:43:00] with the most sophisticated, best aligned incentives, uh, possible.

Like that's always really, uh, exciting. So

Ashby Monk: then I know I'm worried that I'm taking you further and then we're going to go over time. But w with this one, just last one, which, and then back to you, Islam does so the way that we really convince the asset owners to build up the capability to partner with you and go do this in the agriculture space is we help them understand their comparative advantage relative to the intermediary space.

And so then the question for you grant is does it help in this space

Grant Cavanaugh: to have

Ashby Monk: a longer time horizon? So the patient hold and does it help to have big check writing ability? Or are these niche projects that begin to spin off cash in year two? You know, cause if it's the nice projects in year two, then the pension funds may as well invest their time and effort on Timberland or it takes

Grant Cavanaugh: 50 years.

Yes. [00:44:00] Yeah. So, I mean, these are all capital intensive, so, you know, so, uh, so, uh, 50 to 75 basis points of a reasonable sized endowment, you could put that to work in buying assets, uh, today, like a small size salmon company would, would take up that amount. Right. Um, so, so it's, it's the right size to, to consider that.

And. And yeah, like, like you're saying the time horizon is such an important piece of this with an industry that says all the tile as this one, that's subject to freezing events, hitting Nova Scotia, or, you know, uh, algal, bloom that knocks out of all, all most of Chile for a year or two, you can imagine that five to seven year time horizon, which is kind of over, you know, what a lot of private equity groups are looking at.

That's probably too low to really, uh, with any kind of [00:45:00] confidence access, the extraordinary returns that are available. You need to push a little bit beyond that. And that's another reason why ultimately, I mean, you know, my hope, who knows, but my hope is that is that this is appropriate for, you know, a longer term time horizon investors that are working on an institutional.

Sloane Ortel: Beautiful. You know what, one of the things that I think is just so interesting about this too, it's like, I mean, you know, obviously like, you know, long time listeners of the show will know that I will probably not be eating this fish anytime soon, but, uh, you know, like if you think about it about, you know, first of all this, you know, protein demand is not going away, uh, right.

You know, we have an overall need to do harm reduction as a society, you know, but then when you started getting into the data on what makes individual properties better than others, one of the big things that really comes out is it's, it's, it's about like how many fish survive to maturity, right? So like, you know, that you're like the, [00:46:00] the operating opportunity, it seems to be like, you know, in some ways fundamentally aligned with it with, you know, certain interpretations of ESG.

Um, I wonder if you could talk a little bit more about that, right? Like, you know, what's the built environment like where these things are, who are the people that they're employing, um, you know, like how many other jobs. Um, in places where aquaculture is.

Grant Cavanaugh: Yeah. So, um, so you know, these are fundamentally what a fish farm today for salmon is, is, uh, is kind of a bunch of large ringed cages that are sitting in a Fjord somewhere in Norway or Scotland or chili or the Faroe islands or east and west coast of Canada.

And there's usually a floating mobile home. That's nearby that people are Manning 24 hours a day, uh, that, and they're feeding the fish whenever they can, whenever it's safe too, because there's not a [00:47:00] low dissolved oxygen event or some other weird thing that's ongoing. Um, and so, and so these tend to be covering pretty remote communities that will often have a pretty low educational attainment, relatively speaking, and also.

In places like Chile and in Canada, uh, those are systematically also areas that, that have a lot of overlap with indigenous communities. Um, so the west coast of Canada right now, um, there's been a big ruling just in the last couple of weeks. The, the Trudeau's government had announced an intention to phase out all net pen aquaculture in British Columbia.

Um, and there, there been, you know, uh, indigenous communities actually on both sides of that. So, so I'm saying, listen, this is not the species of salmon that, that, uh, we grew up with. It's not part of our cultural identity. We are worried about the environmental impact. And then a lot of other people [00:48:00] saying this is the best employment opportunity available.

And in many cases we have equity stakes in the operations themselves. Uh, that's, that's pretty common in, in Canada that there'll be a revenue sharing agreement with the indigenous communities in. So, um, so all that is to say that, um, that those questions are, again, it's like over and over again, the devil is in the details.

Like what, what you make of the sustainability, uh, is a function of how well you run your farm and how well you run your farm has a lot to do with like nitpicky issues related to low dissolved oxygen or all these other technical concerns. And it's similar from the kind of governance standpoint, which is, you know, you've, you've got, uh, a really wide range of stakeholders involved.

Some of whom really like this is core to their identity and some people who, for [00:49:00] the same reasons, uh, don't, don't see it as, as a unimportant contribution to the economy that they want to grow in their community over time on balance. I would say that, you know, you see. Uh, the communities that still have additional room places like Newfoundland are expanding their, their salmon footprint today.

But a lot of places like Norway, there's just not a lot more space for additional. There's not a lot of hidden fjords out there, uh, that then nobody has, has yet explored or there's reasons why they aren't. So it's, it's up against the limit in some cases against, uh, expansion.

Sloane Ortel: Um, well, it's, I mean, just a fascinating, fascinating story.

Thank you so much for hopping on DAS pod and telling the family about it. Yeah.

Ashby Monk: We want to unlock capital for more sustainable

Sloane Ortel: fisheries is awesome. Yeah. Eat fish, [00:50:00] not cows. Eat fish, not cows.

I mean eat neither, but if you have to eat one knockout, thank you so much. Bye bye. Oh yeah. You know, one of the things that really jumped out at me in that interview was he was, he threw out a benchmark for sustainability of, has there been progress? Yeah. That was, you know, which like, I, I think that's a really like important thought to put a pin in and, and think about, cause it's a, it's a useful mental model for, for anything.

Totally. You know,

Ashby Monk: ask him a garden. No, we're not good at doing podcasts.

Sloane Ortel: We're not good. Maybe, maybe we're the only people who could give garbage Gardendale. Maybe that's what

Ashby Monk: we were going to ask everybody for a garden tip and now that's, what's done. We're not

Sloane Ortel: going to yeah. You know what? Yeah, it's too complicated.

The thing that I

Ashby Monk: [00:51:00] liked, he talked about. Floating, uh, homes floating

Sloane Ortel: mobile on, and

Ashby Monk: I was like, houseboat. Yeah, I would like, is that like a yacht? Like I want to chill out on a floating mobile home. I think it's called a boat.

Sloane Ortel: Yeah. Well, I mean, I, I think, you know, as great would say the devil's in the details here.


Ashby Monk: That'll do it. You see it. And you're like, oh, actually it is just a floating mobile home.

Sloane Ortel: It really does seem like a floating role. Yeah, exactly. None of the charm of the, of the Dutch, uh, you know, houseboats here,

Ashby Monk: the Senator mantra. A variety of houseboat. Oh

Sloane Ortel: God. Oh, sorry. Did I do that? Yeah. Yeah. Well, I mean, you know, I mean, I think it's, I think it's good that he lives in a house, but anyway, what's the, let's talk about hard things.

What's been hard. Oh, for you this way. I mean, you just had like a very good thing. I imagine that was a hard [00:52:00] thing.

Ashby Monk: True, true. Full foreshadowing

Sloane Ortel: there. Uh,

Ashby Monk: yeah, so we, uh, long game, which I think long time listeners will have heard CEO of long game has been on this pod and many will know that I am a co-founder and board member of long game.

And. Sold to truest, which is the sixth biggest bank in America. And truest is going to, um, build out the app and continue to try to help Americans save money through games. This is a crazy concept. Um, but this is the hard thing segment, and I can tell you, boy, was it hard? And I actually wrote down, I'm glad you raised that one.

Cause I wrote it down that, you know, now I've like started a few companies and managed to like land them in, in other companies I E sell them. Um, it is so different and hard compared to raising money for a [00:53:00] startup. Um, you know, one is like, I don't know, like everything is upside when you're raising money for a startup, everything is like, what could this be?

Think about the possibilities. And when you're trying to sell your company or you're in discussions to sell your company, it's like negotiating a prenup. It's like, tell me what could go wrong. And so it's actually quite a different mindset when you're going into those conversations. And I think the M and a process now that I've been through it a few times, um, is a much longer process than fundraising.

So you knew Al entrepreneurs out there, like, no, that you can't be like, well, if I don't raise money, I'll just sell my company. It's actually like almost a longer process to sell your company than it is ever to get through a fundraise in both the cases for me, w with RCI at Adipar and now long game to treat.

Multi-year relationships that like were [00:54:00] established and nurtured. And in some cases, commercial terms like were established for one of them. And, and then, you know, at the end it's like, yeah, maybe we really should come together and build something. And that feels like dating towards a marriage, you know, with a, with a negotiation around a prenup.

Yeah. So that's hard. You're right

Sloane Ortel: now. Yeah. That's I mean like, yeah. I, you know, you don't really think about it that way because it's, that, that is sort of like the glamorous it's like retirement, you know, you ascend into the heavens and you've, you've had an exit. Yeah.

Ashby Monk: And it's like, oh man, did that just come together?

And you're like, I've been working on that for two years.

Sloane Ortel: Yeah. Yeah. And like, uh, God, I've almost died. Uh,

Ashby Monk: yes. I have law for long game. I think I've lost months of sleep. Yeah. The days of sleep, you know?

Sloane Ortel: Yeah. I mean, any kid, any good kid you're going to lose some sleep over.

Ashby Monk: Right. It's true.

Sloane Ortel: Uh, yeah. I mean that, like, that makes total sense.[00:55:00]

Um, the, I guess what's been hard around here is I had, so I have recently, uh, this is like a little bit of foreshadowing maybe for the free money podcast. I've recently learned about Merck, um, a little bit, um, and in particular, um, like, so I basically I've, I've realized that I can stick up posters that have invest vegan stuff on them around Brooklyn, and then people will see them at their coffee shop.

Oh my God. Um, so I've been ordering like cute posters and stuff like that to put up in places. Um, but God damn, if I don't, if I haven't discovered like this perfect knack for ordering the thing to get printed right before I find a type. Um, and so, yeah, it's like, I mean, it's, you know, in the grand scheme of things, it's not the biggest thing in the world.

Right. I mean, the markets are down a bunch, you know, there's all sorts of big, big thorny questions, but those are kind of like in scope for being an asset manager. Right. You sort of expect that you're going to have periods of [00:56:00] time when like the market is bad and everyone hates stocks and you know, if you're a stocks person, then you're just sort of like look weird for a couple of months.

Um, you know, and then it'll be fine again, you know? Uh, but like the, when you take on that marketing dimension on the side, and you're thinking like, I literally have 150 pieces of paper that have this like typo on them now. Uh, you know, and it's like, okay, so am I going to creatively repurpose these, like, you know, I've, I've caused them to be print or do I just like, write it off, take the L like a true woman of business, you know, like the it's like, I don't know why I feel that this is such a big ethical conundrum.

You know,

Ashby Monk: you tell your story. I don't want to make this about me because I love that you're out there. And I, part of me wants to like, let's go get a billboard together. The sponsor billboard, free money podcast. If that's vegan

Sloane Ortel: [00:57:00] shit, why not? It's going to be like

Ashby Monk: $24 based on my zero knowledge. Maybe it's more than that, but I have to tell you this story when I was, uh, doing my PhD at Oxford, um, we were super pumped when we could get business cards and my goal author, Adam Dickson, very dear friend of mine.

We actually lived in Paris together. And then we lived in Oxford together and we did the same doctorate program. So it was very, very fun. Um, I was at, uh, the department, we ordered our business cards and I said to this email, I got both of our business cards. I, Hey, I got your business cards. I got bad news.

There's typos in both of our business cards. And I was like, man, they, they messed up my fax machine. Oh no. And they've got your name listed as Admah Dixon. And, uh, I just thought that was so funny. Cause nobody cares about the fax machine.

Sloane Ortel: Yeah. [00:58:00] Yeah, exactly. It's like, you know, and someone tries to send you a fax, you know what?

They don't deserve to get in touch with you. But like I sold it, like

Ashby Monk: we both got screwed by the business card. They got my fax machine wrong and they got your

Sloane Ortel: name wrong equally harmed by this we're both screwed. Yeah. So is your friend Admah uh, you know, like just having a nice time with his life now.

Oh, he is out there. He's

Ashby Monk: having a, he lives in the Netherlands. His life is good. Yeah. He's good. I don't know if he's a listener, so adva you're out there, but I had, I literally had his email. As adding the Dixon, I think to this day, if I was going to write an email in Gmail, it would be like, is that ad, but you're trying to reach because of that moment anyway.

Sloane Ortel: Yeah. Anyway, well, you know, I, I think that it's time.

I think it's time. We had a sound effect.

Ashby Monk: I think you nailed that one. I feel like the last few they kind of [00:59:00] get muffled and the bod.

Sloane Ortel: Yup. Yup. Yup. Well, see, the thing is like, you know, I'm not recording this on my phone this time. Uh, play. Yeah. It's this weird thing I'm trying where, uh, my computer works as we're, as we're recording show, but anyway, this is a dear Ashby Sigma of the show.

It is our, one of our signature segments that we absolutely never forget to do. We always do this one. Yeah. And that's how, you know, it's a real segment. Uh, yes. And, uh, if you would like to ask a question in an upcoming episode, please do send us an email free money pod@gmail.com or go to free money podcast.

Calm and just fill out the little form and, you know, and ask a question. It can be absolutely whatever you want. Um, and Ashby will answer it and then we will vamp on it. And then we will answer the next question. That's how questions and answers work, I think. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think that's right. I think that's right.

Ashby Monk: Oh. Is to give people the rules of Q and a, you know?

Sloane Ortel: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Like I, and you know, and just so you know, um, [01:00:00] this podcast works better with the volume on, um,

Ashby Monk: in one X speed. We do not like

Sloane Ortel: how we sound at two X. Oh my God. Yeah. Uh, okay, so here's this first one. How much stock do you put into those various pension indices that compare various countries on a range of things like this is like the biggest question,

Ashby Monk: but I love it.

I love it. I love the listeners that ask the questions is a good

Sloane Ortel: question. This is a re I mean, it's, it is good. It goes

Ashby Monk: into this. This is where I begin my soliloquy. There's a lot that goes into this dear listeners because pension funds have contribution rates, investment return rates, and replacement rates, which is how much of your ending salary or blend of the last few years salary are you expected to replace in retirement and a pretty good replacement rate?

I would argue it's around 65, [01:01:00] 70%. Yep. And so I put some stock in the P in those indices that talk about replacement rates, but it's not enough to just think of it as a replacement rate. You have to go back and look like how much money did we take from these people when they were, you know, they had kids trying to go to college where we like taxing them to the Jesus in order to fund their retirement.

So that's gotta be a give and take here. And obviously they, investment performance is the thing I spend most of my life on. So I'll tell you the, the invention. That I stole from Hugh O'Reilly a former podcast guest. I believe the Canada.

Sloane Ortel: Yes. Extraordinary. Yes. The, uh, you know, explaining the Canadian pension model with trademark Canadian poli tests.

Ashby Monk: I actually put what I'm about to describe you in a paper. And I believe I acknowledged him, but I may not have, I may not have, because it was all confidential. It might've been a confidential conversation that we had no [01:02:00] anonymize it, but he here's all the credit in the world. He had this idea of a pension health metric where he says, look, you can't just look at funding.

You have to look at funding and discount rate together. If you have a high discount rate, then you'll look for. We have a low discount rate, then you'll look underfunded. But if you look fully funded with a low discount rate, then you've got a really healthy pension plan and that's what you was always trying to do at OPI trust.

And so I always thought, and maybe this is the part I invented. You can create a ratio based on that, where you look at the funding level. So is it a hundred percent funded, a hundred, 5% funded in the Netherlands, or is it, you know, like Chicago, 25% funded? Um, and then you would divide that by the discount rate, the expected return target, and so a very healthy fund.

Would it be like 25% or 25? Sorry, this is the ratio of 25. Yeah. And a very unhealthy plan would be five for example. [01:03:00] Um, and I think that like, if we could do a global benchmark of the defined benefit plans using that type of a pension health, I would put huge amounts of stock in it. Um, but I don't think that's out there.

So the answer to the question is no, I don't actually. Take that much interest in these aside from like anecdotes.

Sloane Ortel: Well, and I think that one of the things that really, you know, grinds my gears about them is that the conclusions are often very similar. Like yeah, we know the Netherlands has a great pension system.

Like, you know, I mean, the it's like, okay, the, you know, the places where there's no litter in the streets and they have great pensions. Wow. That's a shock, you know, and like the places where they have no social safety net, they have high savings rates. Wow. Uh, you know, and I think that for producing decision relevant information that they can, they can often kind of fall behind and, you know, um, it would be great if you're, if you're out here, you know, working for some sort of like nonprofit advocacy group or something like that, you're trying to come up with some thought leadership to do.

That [01:04:00] would be a good report. Intention, health it's. I mean, it's free, free the

Ashby Monk: way you just mentioned a segment. We don't do. What did you hear it? And

Sloane Ortel: that's grinding gears, grinding gears. Oh, wow. I think we used to do a grinding gears. That might, yeah, that was no, that was the top. I think that was hot. Yeah.

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I mean another masterful segue from the free money podcast. This is a great question. Uh, can you think of a time when someone really put the douche in fiduciary? Uh, what was slash is the circumstance?

Ashby Monk: I love it. Uh, I am picturing somebody just had like a funny thought ed was then like, who can I ask this to?

You know?

Grant Cavanaugh: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And that's what, that's the energy we're trying to pick up on

Ashby Monk: here. Um, and I also think. More of my thinking on this is like, I think we [01:05:00] need a segment called fiduciary fiduciary fiduciary of the week. Uh, yeah, exactly. We just point out a pension anyway, to answer this brilliantly posed question.

I think whenever the do Sherry's, um, say that they aren't paying attention to shit, that's good for the world because of their obligations. Yeah. All the time on climate still happens on things like diversity and inclusion. Um, and, and they say, oh, no, I'm a fiduciary airy. I can't, this is going to take hold.

I think, I think

Sloane Ortel: I actually, I love this. I, I fucking love this. I, the, I like this. It's going to be bigger than ethanol. Yeah, yeah, no, no. This is the next step and on right. You heard it your first, I mean, like. But the fiduciary movement really has been just remarkably powerful over the years. And yeah. I mean, like they have inhibited a [01:06:00] great deal of social progress.


Ashby Monk: yeah, no, I mean, look, it's, it's not two or three years ago. I was still hearing, you know, certain pension funds saying things like, how do I get this climate thing to go away? You know? And it's like, change your portfolio D getting it zero. Like all those kinds of things. That's how it goes away. It doesn't go away by just like, thinking about how I placate stakeholders.

That's how you're a fiduciary.

Sloane Ortel: Yeah. How do I

Ashby Monk: take the box here?

Sloane Ortel: Oh, man. I'm picturing like an, like the fiduciary, like X-Men or like what the evil X-Men, uh, I don't know, like, you know, there's a, you got like box ticker, uh, you know,

Ashby Monk: I could do. Oh, there's that vibe here? Do share Jack Black vibe. Yeah.

Sloane Ortel: Yeah. I mean that tracks, that tracks.

All right. So the mind

Ashby Monk: for your, a poster printing [01:07:00] operation,

Sloane Ortel: uh, that's a good point. That's a good point. I maybe I'm just gonna, I'm just going to print a big posters that say for douche and put them up everywhere. Uh, the, you know, like I could be a lot more guerrilla about the free money podcast you would share about my like regulated asset management business.

Um, this is the last question I think, you know. Sure. You know, everybody's wondering this. Would you ever grow mushrooms? How would you do it? Do you know how to do it? Is it too scary? What do you, what are you thinking about the mushroom

Ashby Monk: I friend in college? Who for legal reasons? I will keep

Sloane Ortel: a, not you're talking about the psychedelic mushrooms.


Ashby Monk: grew mushrooms in his dorm room closet. And I'll tell you, I thought that was like a very poor life choice. You know, first of all, you get caught with that shit is trouble. We were like 20, like Lord knows he did not have the controls in place next to your sneakers. Anyway, he survived and [01:08:00] he's out there.

Um, so that's the good, but so I think I'm afraid, but I think I'm also. Willing to try. So I think if you gave me a controlled environment and use like, look, it's just like cooking, here's the soil. Here's how much you water, here's how you do it. You know, I would try it because, because I love, I love mushrooms.

I mean, I really do enjoy too, like grilling up mushrooms and putting it, you know, on different sandwiches, whatever it is. Like, I do love them, but I am afraid that I would kill myself.

Sloane Ortel: Yeah. I mean, like, that's always the vibe with mushrooms. It's like, and that's why they're, they're known as the gay, uh, oh, the gay, the gay kingdom.

Uh, you know, I don't know. That's not true at all. I mean, I don't know much, you know what they are, they're, they're, they're, you know, romantic and whatever. I don't, I'm not, I'm not doing this allegory, but, uh, I have seen setups where people get like logs at the [01:09:00] inoculate with spores. And then if they have.

You know, a backyard or something like that, they're just, you know, they'll have like, you know, maybe a hundred square feet, 200 square feet of like mushroom wood. And then, yeah. And then they'll just like go out and like grab the mushrooms when they want them. Um, you know, we, we got a Christmas gift from one of my aunts, like a mushroom growing kit.

Um, It was great. Yeah. We had trumpet mushrooms growing in our kitchen and like, you know, we basically made a bunch of, we fried them up and, you know, tastes like fried chicken. Yeah. Um, yeah, exactly. Get some, you know, get some nice, like vitamin D in your bloodstream. Um, I would do it outside if I were to do it again.

I mean, just because like, it's mostly, it's not that it's musty it's you got miss it. And like, you know, we, we basically ended the experiment when we accidentally sprayed or like household vinegar cleaner on the mushrooms and they didn't like, you know, I mean, so it's like, it's not good. Don't eat. It's not like a [01:10:00] chill, like, you know, oh, we'll just put a, like right here in this, you know, the, uh, mushroom is a big operation, but if you have, if you have the space, um, you know, listener, uh, check out the inoculated mushrooms, I think, I think you'll, uh, I think you'll find some, some interesting shit there even.

No, no, I think they have inoculated mulch too. Um, now, uh, I bought mulch on the weekend. That's a good shit. Right?

Ashby Monk: We're going into court. What kind of garden tips? You got

three listening to one of the guard tips so that I make sure I don't repeat my guard at depths. Oh yeah. One of the things I do for the listeners, because sometimes I'm like, did I already do that guard tip? And I heard us, our sound effect for garden tip was like, it was the, what is it? The monster truck.

Sloane Ortel: Yeah. Oh man. We've got to [01:11:00] get a monster truck guy. We got to get more voice actors in on this bitch, but yet like w you know, give me the goods. Okay. I get here. I got it because

Ashby Monk: the, I want to tell people about drought resistance plants, and because my wife and I, we were at the home of. Um, AKA home Depot on the weekend and we always gravitate towards the drought resistant plants cause we live in California and first of all, our soil is a heroic.

Combination of clay and cement. And, uh, our rain is irregular and lights. So we get like less than 10 inches a year, some year. And so it's really important to have trees that can survive in crappy soil or bushes that can survive in Capri soul and very little water. And so I want to put out the free money endorsement on tea trees.

Sloane Ortel: Hm,

Ashby Monk: tea trees that go by the Latin name of Leptospermum. And that's not why I selected it,

Sloane Ortel: but [01:12:00] I know he's like walking through the nursery, like, all right. Which one of these is like the closest to Dick's.

Ashby Monk: I just noted it in case you needed to find it. It is the craziest name I've heard in a while, but any who?

Um, the tea tree it's got lovely pink, little flowers. It is pest free doubt resistance. It grows in poor soil. It's still, I'm still talking disease free. It attracts butterflies. It's still going deer resistant. It's one of

Sloane Ortel: your things, I think you meant to say drought resistant, but I prefer to believe that it's doubt resistant

Ashby Monk: and you can't tell, I, you just have

Sloane Ortel: to believe in this truth.

You cannot doubt it.

Ashby Monk: I did. Yeah. Lovely little pig flowers to which you don't

Sloane Ortel: doubt don't it sounds delightful. I mean like that, I mean, what a beautiful little, yeah.

Ashby Monk: And so right now, if you Google it, you will see these gorgeous little [01:13:00] pink flowers and it covers the entire Bush and these questions grow like 10 feet tall.

Wow. So we're just thrilled. We bought, we had two in the, no, actually we have four in the yard right now. They're all gorgeous and blooming. So we went and bought two more. Um, and it's called tea tree because the Australians and new Zealanders used to soak the leaves in boiling water to make herbal.

Apparently it's. Huh? Good. I haven't tried it yet, but.

Sloane Ortel: You know, well, I mean, yeah, you can, if, you know, when the world really ends, you can make your own tea, tree shampoo and like, uh, all sorts of other good stuff. Plus, I mean, like, I think there are a lot of, of, uh, trees that, you know, we have like these common, you know, medicinal uses for like witch, Hazel that are actually super beautiful and drought resistant, um, like hell fricking.

Yeah. I love a good tea tree. Um,

Ashby Monk: oh, you were familiar.

Sloane Ortel: I, I mean, like, I, I, I actually, I learned about the teacher in high school when like somebody got these really good Teatree, um, [01:14:00] dipped, like a what's it called? Um, toothpicks that we're all obsessed with. Yeah. It was really good. Um, so yeah, I it's been a little bit of a thing, but my tip for those of you with

Ashby Monk: cowboy hats

Sloane Ortel: and boots.

Yeah, exactly. If it, if you're really trying to like rough it, you know, put out a vibe. Um, so I, you know, it may be too late where you are various listeners in the, in the country, but I would say one of the most important things that I do as a gardener is keep track of what's going on at like my local botanical gardens and like, you know, kind of in New York city, we're very fortunate that we have snug Harbor, which is run by the Smithsonian in Staten island.

Wow. That's like a really, really nice conservative. And then we also have the Queens farm in Queens, which has been continuously farmed for like three or 400 years. Both of those places do plant sales every spring and fall. So like in the spring, you know, you can go and get a whole bunch of really cool plants usually [01:15:00] picked by somebody who's got like just a dorky interest in cool plants.

And so like, if you are fortunate enough to have the in, um, you can get yourself like a pretty reliable source of like hard to find, you know, not that typical, well grown, organically grown stuff. Um, so like, and that's like, my gardening has been really, really elevated by access to those folks, especially around stuff like compost, you know, like, cause you know, there is, there is a degree to which.

You know, not to like burden the metaphor about, you know, gardening is just like investing too much, but like, you do need a community of other practitioners to learn from. And, you know, like if you have people in your local environment that are dealing with the same similar conditions, you know, that are like, And, you know, in sitting like they, you, I guarantee you within a hundred miles of almost everybody, there is somebody who's sitting there hard thinking about how do we bring native, comfortable wildlife back into this area, you know?

And maybe even [01:16:00] organizing semi-annual plant sales about it. So don't sleep on that. I'm going to call it. That's the tip

Ashby Monk: of the day. You nailed it tip of the day, because I find now that I go to the garden store so much, there, they are very seasonal, relevant. Like they know what needs to be going in the ground.

Those plants are out. And so you're walking through and it's like, all curated. It's not like, this is what it looks like all the time. Like every two weeks they're changing, what's going on. And the people you're talking to. Usually are like pretty avid and know what they're doing. So the garden story is usually a fabulous reference point for first of all, like what is local and what you should be putting in the ground.

And second of all, like what is timely?

Sloane Ortel: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Cause like, I, you know, you gotta get your strawberries and it's like, there's a whole, there's a, there's an ancient rhythm to this one only learns through repetition and you know, like I was, I [01:17:00] had no grounding in this when I started. Yeah. I, you know, I mean, but the garden center always a source of good vibes, um, you know, and local compost interest group.

You know, you might, you might find some dirty smelling people, but I'm sure they'll all be very nice and find some posters

Ashby Monk: with an occasional misspelling around

Sloane Ortel: exactly. You might not, you might see

Ashby Monk: a misspelled poster to invest with Vivian.

Sloane Ortel: Well, you know, you know, the thing that really sucks is I, uh, I, I made it, um, complimentary, like I spelled it wrong, you know?

So I really look like an idiot. Cause it's just a, it's a, it's a very noticeable type of graphic layer I find and know. Um, I, I will hang my head in shame until the whole time. No, yes. Yeah, no, no. It's because I'm bad ass it's because it's because God hates fags.

No, [01:18:00] no, God loves the fact that I love all of you. I love you guys. Bye. Oh yeah.

If you liked this episode, tell someone about it!

More Great Conversations

Raising Capital Inclusively

Today we’re joined by Bill Burckart and Megan Kashner of Colorful Capital, both of whom are professors of impact investing (Columbia and Northwestern) as well ...
Give it a listen

Innovation Backed by Violence featuring Caitlin Rosenthal

This one’s nearly a year old – but still filled with the usual gold. It honestly didn’t come as a shock to us that modern ...
Give it a listen

Transitioning to Greatness featuring Maeve DuVally

Perhaps this episode could be a great business case for not hating yourself. It’s amazing when you look at what you bring to the table ...
Give it a listen

Augmenting the Efficiency of Indian Agriculture with Ruchit Garg of the Harvesting Farmer Network

AI, research, and farming? Oh my! On today’s episode, we’re joined by Ruchit Garg, who is working to build a much more efficient market for ...
Give it a listen

Easing Into It

See – we told you we weren’t dead! Our guest in this episode is…nonexistent (thanks to a typical tech error). That said, we’re thrilled to ...
Give it a listen

Operational Alpha in Practice with NYC BERS’ Sandy Rich

Some things are more important than beating the market. That’s particularly true when it comes to managing a pension fund. In this episode, we chat ...
Give it a listen