These Cambridge University undergrads run a £109,000 investment fund

Most of us can’t even budget our student loan properly…

University offers a unique place to discover new opportunities and get involved in enjoyable extracurriculars outside of academia. Societies often introduce students to ideas about work beyond university and create the opportunity to get involved in industries before graduating. The Clare College Cutty Sark Investment Society takes this to the next level.

CCCSIS offers students the chance to control an investment fund with a total holding of nearly £109,000. The society was created in 2016 when an alumnus of Clare generously donated £70,000 to found the group; since then their smart investment choices have earned them an additional £40,000 in just 5 years.

The group organises informative presentations (Image Credit: Clare College Cutty Sark Investment Society)

But the huge financial success of the group isn’t the only thing that makes them stand out – they’re a women and non-binary run group. The society’s focus is to encourage women and non-binary students to gain financial literacy and introduce them to careers in finance. In the UK, women make up just 13 per-cent of investment fund managers, a number that hasn’t changed in 20 years. CCCSIS seeks to change that by putting them at the front of decision-making.

So what does the society offer students? Apart from possibly the coolest graduation CV ever? The group provides sessions introducing members to the inner workings of investing, giving them the knowledge and confidence to find investing opportunities for the fund which they then present to the rest of the group. Once a decision is made, the fund invests, with the goal of increasing their portfolio and expanding the markets they work in.

They also organise guest speaker events, with talks on sustainable investing and alternative careers in finance. Networking events are provided with the intention of creating connections and providing guidance for members, helping them learn about the reality of working in the financial sector.

an audience watched a presentation

One of the society’s meetings (Image Credit: Clare College Cutty Sark Investment Society)

A financially focused outlook isn’t required though. The society’s President, Ruixin Shi, told us that “diversity is a key focus” and that they encourage women and non-binary people from all backgrounds and degrees to join the group – no experience or financial knowledge is needed, as they guide beginners through the investing process. It is important to them that “investment is made accessible to women from all academic fields.”

The fund allows those without personal finances to have the ability to get involved in investing, and participation in the fund is ‘entirely risk-free’ to ensure that there is nothing holding back those that want to get involved. “We not only focus on introducing women and non-binary people to finance, but centre those who do not have a background in it, whether that’s through studying economics or knowing those involved in the sector.”

“We’re aware of how inaccessible finance is, not just for women and non-binary people but for those from lower incomes who haven’t grown up surrounded by those in the know.” CCCSIS aims to solve such problems by educating members on the intricacies of the financial world such as when deadlines are for financial applications, or how to write formal CVs. “One thing that is so important but is often ignored is preparing students for applications to and jobs in finance. The goal of CCCSIS is to support our members beyond just their involvement with us”.

a group of students eating

The Society’s annual dinner (Image Credit: Clare College Cutty Sark Investment Society)

The group doesn’t just focus on solving systematic issues through their membership, but also through the companies they invest in. The largest proportion of the group’s shares are in ‘Stewart Investors Asia Pacific Leaders Sustainability’ which focuses on contributing to the sustainable development of the countries in which they operate through both environmental and social schemes.

Aside from the study and investment of international markets, CCCSIS functions just like any other society. It has annual dinners and socials, with a member saying “it’s a great group of people. Being surrounded by other women who are supporting you is amazing.”

Ruxin told us that the group revolves around “encouraging confidence” in women and non-binary people, within an industry that has historically excluded them. Clearly, it’s working, as a member told us “you can’t underestimate what you learn by actually investing, it’s taught me so much more than my whole first year of economics.”

The group’s transparency and focus on the environmental and social impact of their actions is a promising sign for the future of finance and seeing such success come from a female and non-binary led group proves that changes are coming for the industry. CCCSIS has rolling applications and more information on their social medias.  

Feature Image Credit: Clare College Cutty Sark Society