Students have overwhelming voted against a motion on whether OUSU should oppose the wearing of scholars’ gowns in examinations.In a consultation poll, 2126 students voted against the motion that OUSU should oppose the wearing of differential gowns in examinations, with 1214 in favour, and 33 abstentions. The poll was open for two days and received a total turnout of 3373—around 14 per cent of the student body.The results of the poll, which is non-binding, will be discussed and voted on in OUSU’s 1st week Michaelmas Council.The motion was proposed by Wadham students, Matilda Agace and Isobel Cockbur. Writing in Cherwell, Agace, Cockbur and Taisie Tsikas claimed that “the hierarchical gown structure is fundamentally in conflict with ideals of community and equality that the University espouses”. “Many students are made to feel uncomfortable and nervous by the presence of a visual reminder of what they might perceive as their academic inferiority,” they wrote.It was further suggested that scholars’ gowns, which cost £45, do not accurately represent academic achievement. An argument in favour of the motion on OUSU’s website argued: “prelims results are more of a reflection of a student’s educational background than their grade in Finals”.However, there has been strong opposition to the banning of scholars gowns. Writing in Cherwell, Thomas Munro said that it would be “perverse to deny those who have achieved academically the rewards of their success”.Munro further argued: “to remove the right to wear [scholars’ gowns] from those who have already achieved scholarships reeks of envy, rather than any real desire for reform”.It remains unclear if the poll will prove decisive on this contentious issue. Because the consultation was solely advisory, OUSU council could still technically vote to adopt the policy of opposing differential gowns in examinations in October.
Swiss asset manager Lyxor has listed a new exchange-traded fund (ETF) focused on companies in the robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) sectors.The fund’s portfolio has been built based on the work of parent company Société Générale’s (SocGen) thematic research team, as well as that of Martin Ford, a futurist and author.The Robotics and AI ETF invests in 150 stocks selected by SocGen’s big data process based on research and development expenditure, net sales, return on invested capital, and three-year sales growth.Lyxor claimed the “bespoke” approach meant the fund included companies making use of robotics or AI technology in their businesses, and not just those creating the technology or its components. Data company Statista has estimated that companies in the robotics and AI sectors could generate revenues of as much as $90bn (€77bn) by 2025.The ETF is listed in the UK, Germany and Italy and has a total expense ratio of 0.4%.Invesco’s S&P-based communications ETFMeanwhile, Invesco has listed a new ETF on the London Stock Exchange focusing on the communications sector of the S&P 500 index. It covers 26 stocks including technology giants Facebook, Netflix, Twitter, and Alphabet (Google’s holding company).The launch reflects the decisions of index providers S&P and MSCI to amend their company definitions. For S&P, this has meant reassigning companies from the consumer discretionary and technology sectors to the new communications category.The fund is the 11th in Invesco’s range of ETFs tracking specific S&P sectors. It has an annual ongoing charge of 0.14%.TOBAM to cut carbon footprint across fund rangeFrench asset manager TOBAM has adopted a carbon reduction policy for its main portfolios, aiming to cut its footprint by 20%.The strategy applies to its “anti-benchmark” equity funds and “maximum diversification” indices, according to a statement from the fund manager.Founder and CEO Yves Choueifaty said the company’s research had shown that reducing its carbon footprint would “not significantly affect the risk/return profile of our approach” or its portfolios’ diversification.“We believe that the capability to customise as well as add specific filters and/or constraints without impacting the nature of our investment philosophy is a core quality of the maximum diversification approach,” he added.Asset management acquirer adds to portfolio with liquid alts buyIM Global Partner, a French distribution group for asset managers, has acquired a 45% stake in liquid alternatives specialist Dynamic Beta Investments.The deal marks IM Global Partner’s fourth acquisition, following its purchase of stakes in US-based equities manager Polen Capital, corporate bond specialist Dolan McEniry, and global equities investor Sirios Capital Management.Dynamic Beta is based in New York runs a long/short fund-of-funds, and managed futures strategy, and a multi-asset absolute return fund.Mathias Mamou-Mani, head of risk management at Dynamic Beta, said: “Extensive research on hedge funds proves that most or all pre-fee returns of hedge funds can be captured through dynamically-adjusted portfolios of market instruments.“This validates our position that fee reduction can generate meaningful alpha for our clients.“We are excited to work with IM Global Partner to introduce our investment solutions to a broader range of investors.”