My research focuses on the governance of long-term investment decision-making and social finance. My knowledge of sustainable investment and social finance has developed through my research at Purpose Capital, the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation and the University of Oxford.

Recent work includes examining the opportunities and strategies for retail impact investing in the Canadian credit union sector, assessing the range of social finance models for the settlement and integration sector and advising the University of Ottawa Board’s response to the fossil fuel divestment campaign.

My professional experiences in academia, government and non-profits have shaped my belief that solutions to our complex economic, social and environmental problems cannot be derived from models that assume individual economic agents faced with a series of trade-offs. To be sure, these models provide excellent case studies for which to compare and to understand complex phenomena. But we make a lot more compromises, judgements and interpretations than we do trade-offs.

Financial institutions play a key role in shaping our societal, economic and financial systems. Like many others, I am interested in how to ensure that this impact is positive for a diverse range of individuals and groups in society and the economy. I believe that we must embrace the ambiguity and diversity inherent in global financial markets in order to make finance a valuable contributor to society. This requires overcoming our strong bias for certainty and for thinking in terms of black or white, right or wrong, and to work against institutions and cognitive biases that reward convergence and sameness.

-Heather Hachigian



Judge, Asset Owners: Medium and Small Category, Responsible Investor Reporting Awards, 2016

Guest Editor, Journal of Sustainable Finance and Investing

Research Associate, Carleton Centre for Community Innovation

Recent Speaking Engagements

Webinar, Retail Impact Investing: A Guidebook for Canadian Credit Unions, April 27, 2016

University of Ottawa Fossil Fuel Divestment Panel, March 21, 2016

Webinar, Social Finance Models for the Settlement and Integration Sector, April 7, 2016

Making Shareholder Engagement More Efficient, UN Principles for Responsible Investment Academic Network, Montreal, September 2014

Managing Ambiguity – A Governance Framework for Responsible Investing. Presented at the Oikos Young Scholars Finance Academy (2012), Gais, Switzerland.