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Refugee ETF Wins 2020 Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge

Published 04-23-20

Submitted by Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Sustainable Investing and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management today announced that the Refugee ETF team was named the winner of the 2020 Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge. The team was one of 12 finalists competing in the digital Challenge on Friday, April 17th..

The winning team of graduate students from New York University Stern School of Business and Wagner School of Public Service captivated the judges with their Refugee ETF proposal. The team presented their exchange-traded fund as the first retail investment product designed to help drive economic integration of refugees. The ETF aims to achieve its social and financial goals through investments in a global index comprised of listed companies with robust refugee-focused policies and initiatives.

Now in its tenth year, the Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge is an annual global competition designed to inspire future leaders to develop innovative financial vehicles to help address environmental, social and governance (ESG) challenges. The 12 finalist teams were selected from 308 students hailing from 56 different countries. They represent 74 graduate schools and their projects targeted impact in 34 countries.

“The students in this year’s Challenge represent the future of finance as they are leading the charge for the industry to craft and accelerate strategies that drive both market returns and social impact,” said Matt Slovik, Head of Global Sustainable Finance at Morgan Stanley. “The impressive proposal showcased by the Refugee ETF team demonstrates one of the many creative solutions that can be developed to help tackle increasingly complex global sustainability challenges.”

Due to COVID-19, the in-person finals event was modified into a fully remote-virtual event through video, web conferencing and other forms of virtual collaboration to maintain our commitment to hosting the best competition possible. Finalists presented their proposals and took questions from a panel of judges over live video conference. After all teams presented, judges reconnected over a separate video call to determine the winner, first runner up and plastics winner.

In support of the Firm’s Plastic Waste Resolution, Morgan Stanley provided an additional prize of to the best student proposal focused on addressing plastic waste. Six of the top 12 finalist proposals this year were plastics focused.

The winning team, SeaLess Plastic, consisted of Mark Gallo, Clarie Ng, Jose Andres Montes Lopez and Maximilian Rychwalski from the United States, Singapore, the United States and Germany, respectfully.

This year’s runner-up was SWEEPCO Bonds from Columbia Business School. The SWEEPCO team proposed an innovative municipal green bond solution to help upgrade cities’ material recovery facilities, increase plastic recycling rates and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“This year’s finalists displayed an incredible level of financial sophistication and intellectual rigour,” said Megan Kashner, Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of Social Impact at Kellogg School of Management. “We want to congratulate the 12 finalist teams, our winners, and every student who entered the competition and challenged themselves to use help create positive change in the world using creative finance as their lever.”

The Challenge seeks to inspire the next generation of sustainable investing practitioners, connect emerging leaders with industry professionals, and foster greater emphasis on sustainable finance at graduate schools around the world. More information on this year’s finalists and winner can be found on Morgan Stanley's website. You can also follow the conversation on social media with #SIChallenge.


About Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing investment banking, securities, wealth management and investment management services. With offices in more than 41 countries, the Firm's employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals. For more information about Morgan Stanley, please visit

About The Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing

The Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing builds scalable finance solutions that seek to deliver competitive market rate returns while driving positive environmental and social impact. The Institute creates innovative financial products, thoughtful insights and capacity building programs that help maximize capital to create a more sustainable future. For more information about the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing, visit

About Kellogg School of Management

The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University develops brave leaders who inspire growth in people, organizations and markets. Based just outside of Chicago, the school is a global leader in management education, renowned for its distinctive thought leadership and pioneering approach to learning. Kellogg offers an innovative portfolio of programs: four Full-Time MBA programs including leading one-year program and joint degree programs with the engineering, law and medical schools; a Part-Time MBA Program; the premier Executive MBA global network; and extensive non-degree Executive Education programs. To learn more about Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, please visit


Media Relations:
Morgan Stanley

Katherine Stueber

This material was published on April 21, 2020 and has been prepared for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation of any offer to buy or sell any security or other financial instrument or to participate in any trading strategy. This material does not provide individually tailored investment advice. It has been prepared without regard to the individual financial circumstances and objectives of persons who receive it. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC and Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC (collectively, "Morgan Stanley"), Members SIPC, recommend that recipients should determine, in consultation with their own investment, legal, tax, regulatory and accounting advisors, the economic risks and merits, as well as the legal, tax, regulatory and accounting characteristics and consequences, of the transaction. The appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor's individual circumstances and objectives.

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The returns on a portfolio consisting primarily of Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) aware investments may be lower or higher than a portfolio that is more diversified or where decisions are based solely on investment considerations. Because ESG criteria exclude some investments, investors may not be able to take advantage of the same opportunities or market trends as investors that do not use such criteria.

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© 2020 Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Members SIPC. All rights reserved. CRC 3022973 04/2020

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Morgan Stanley is a global financial services firm and a market leader in investment banking, securities, investment management and wealth management services. With more than 1,200 offices in 42 countries, the people of Morgan Stanley are dedicated to providing our clients the finest thinking, products and services to help them achieve even the most challenging goals. Through its Global Sustainable Finance Group, Morgan Stanley seeks to support community development initiatives with debt, equity, and philanthropy.

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