Our story
Systems Investor is a startup whose mission is to use universal ownership theory to transform investors' real-world impact on climate and biodiversity
Beginnings

Systems Investor founder, Thomas O'Neill, has long seen climate change and biodiversity loss as the primary 'threat multiplier' to human security in the 21st century. In 2015, he co-founded InfluenceMap to produce the world’s first system to aggregate and challenge corporate obstruction of climate change legislation — our most effective collective mechanism to avert the pending crisis. Thomas left InfluenceMap to focus on the finance sector and producing systems risk data that can help investors take financially difficult decisions today in the interests of climate change and the future value of all markets.

What is universal ownership?

​The concept of universal ownership theory, originally developed by James Hawley, recognised that large institutional investors with diversified portfolios effectively own the entire economy and their interests align with the public at large.  

Any investor exposed to a representative slice of the market, can be regarded as a 'universal owner'. We purport therefore that their main interests should not be in the returns of this or that individual company, but in the net growth of the economy through time. 

With the rising prominence of globalised systemic risks such as climate change and biodiversity loss, universal owners are faced with 'unhedgeable risks'. It follows that they have a clear duty and financial incentive to protect the intrinsic value of the economy from these risks. 

A financial model for universal ownership

Our technology will show the ‘net portfolio cost’ of any company, company asset or company activity that generates carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions. It could, for example, be applied to an automobile company, a coal plant, land-use practices, and even climate lobbying. We want to answer the question: do the benefits of this activity outweigh the costs of its emissions reinternalised into the investors’ market-spanning portfolio? Where there is a portfolio loss, investors have a strong financial interest in transitioning or bringing the activity to a halt. 

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Assessing investor impact

We have developed a robust process to assess when and how investors have real-world impact. Our offering is to independently verify investors' impact claims. 

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