In response to the recent article in the New York Times entitled “As Funds Invoke Bible Values, Others See Intolerance” published on February 28th, the Christian Investment Forum felt it was important to comment on some of the content in the article, and clarify some points that may have been inadvertently implied or could be incorrectly inferred from the article. Specifically, CIF felt it was important to note that:
- Investing that aligns with Christian values has been an accepted investing practice for centuries and has had tremendous benefits to the investors and our society.
- Investing that incorporates values into the decision making process has been consistently proven in research to perform slightly better than average.
- Many investment products and services already exist for Christians and others that want to incorporate their values into their investing, and are available to investors of all types and levels.
The Christian Investment Forum is a Kingdom-focused investment association committed to educating advisors and investors by providing opportunities to bring about change – in the hearts, homes, cities, and world that we serve. We strive to be an organization that enables others to advance and promote Kingdom Impact Investing that transforms our world.
[Note – Inspire Investing is not a member of CIF]
Faith based investing has been around for centuries, and has done significant good for our society. Some examples are: abolition of slavery, apartheid divestment, prevention of sex trafficking, elimination of child labor and other harmful labor practices within supply chains, sustainability in supply chains, and environmental stewardship to name a few. These and other positive impacts that faith-based investing has helped to produce lead to greater human flourishing in the U.S. and globally, yet much more can still be done. The notion of including personal values into investment decisions is not new, and is an accepted practice for those that are Christian as well as others who simply seek to positively impact our world. For them, investing is ownership and comes with responsibility.
For many Christians and those of other faiths, the importance of what they own and how they invest is equally important to the investment return they receive. And yet based on multiple studies across time and asset classes, the performance of screened portfolios based on environmental, social & governance (ESG) criteria have proven to have neutral or slightly positive performance compared to the benchmarks. This is not to suggest that an investor can always expect out-performance from ESG, or Faith based investing, but they also do not have to assume under-performance by investing in alignment with values. More information on a CIF sponsored study, as well as other academic research can be found on the CIF website HERE. There is also a posting on the CIF website about a Wharton Study. Other organizations have similar resources that come to the same conclusion, such as the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investing (USSIF) found HERE.
The good news is that regardless of what Christian faith perspective with which an investor is involved, there are many investment products available that can support and align with those values. Within the Christian Investment Forum, there are over 50 different funds across most asset classes, coming from the faith practices of Catholics, Mennonites, Baptists, other Protestant faith, Evangelicals, and non-denominational Christians, which can be seen in this Chart. There are investment advisors that can provide wise counsel, as well as custom investment products and services that can support a desire to do good while doing well financially.
In summary we believe “Bible values” are demonstrably good for investors and lead to better business behavior which in turn enriches our world.