During my time studying at Trinity Western University, an interesting thing happened that I don’t believe is very common for a typical TWU student: I became absorbed in learning more about finance and the capital markets. A combination of tumultuous times in the world markets during the financial crisis and its fallout, as well as the rise of the need of a different skill set in mathematics and computer programming in the world of finance was what drew me into learning more. Many would say, and have said, that pursuing a career in finance for a Christian TWU grad is at least a neutral career choice where one’s calling needs to be carried out in your spare time and your career acts a means to an end. Even further, it’s been seen as an actively negative force in the world due to greed and corruption, least of all a distraction from a true calling. However, for me, my career in finance IS my calling and how I carry out God’s plan in the world.
I believe that as agents of our saviour in this world, we must bring about positive change in all parts of the world. A large and very important part of our modern world is the flow of capital in the financial markets. The financial markets are not inherently good or bad, but can be used in either direction. Most of the great advancements in our world have a “debt to pay,” as it were, to finance, the capital markets and even to the recent growth in complexity in the financial markets. There are many places where this is evident: the ability to borrow at a reasonable rate to start a revolutionary business that could not have been started otherwise which provides meaningful work to many; to buy a house that gives a family a legacy and place to raise a family; even outreach projects and Church growth projects that need to be financed somehow. In fact, many of the increased complexities bemoaned by many that make it impossible for a layperson to understand the financial markets in actuality make it possible for financial institutions to greatly reduce lending costs and therefore the cost for the average person to have access to the capital that they need.
Of course, there is a flip side to increased complexity in the markets. Banks taking big bets using depositors’ and investors’ cash, outsized and unearned bonuses after the financial crisis and market manipulation scandals have unfortunately been a less rare occurrence than anyone would like. This is where capitalism breaks down. Capitalism has been seen to be the most effective way to organize an economy, but it only functions properly when an economy’s participants act according to proper values. This is where I think as Christians we can add the most value. Acting as leaders in building a culture of accountability, honesty, and proper stewardly behavior is the best way to actively change what many see as a corrupt and greedy field of work and transforming finance in a way that regulation will never be able to do. I am proud to be part of the group of TWU alumni who are using their gifts and knowledge for God’s glory in this world especially those working in finance who spend their careers making investing, finance and business a force for good in the world.