What is the Christian Investment Forum (CIF)?
The Christian Investment Forum (CIF) is an independent, non-profit organization seeking to promote the knowledge and understanding of the concept of biblically responsible investing (BRI). We are an association of Christian investment professionals and companies, led by a Board of its Members and run by an Executive Director. We strive to educate ourselves and the wider public on the benefits of BRI through research that leads to credibility, training that leads to knowledge, and networking that leads to influence.
What is the goal of CIF?
Advance BRI | Investing for Kingdom Impact
Our goal is to increase the awareness and use of Biblically responsible investing, by becoming the resource for advisors, investors, church leaders and Christian thought leaders for BRI.
How does CIF intend to meet that goal?
Use of BRI will come with increased awareness and knowledge, since both investors and advisors have expressed a high level of interest in biblically responsible investing. CIF will build knowledge and awareness through the following tactics: * An easy to use and informative website for advisors and the public * Content about BRI, about investment choices, about performance, and about the credibility of BRI as an investing philosophy * Webinars and training online for advisors * Regular communications to engage advisors on the topic, to hear from them and support them * A speakers bureau that can provide speakers and content for events * Public Relations initiatives to gain visibility in the broader financial market, with the Christian financial thought leaders, with the general investing public, and with church leaders
Is there really a market for BRI funds?
Currently, CIF Member Firms manage over $22 billion in assets through 64 BRI mutual funds focused on the retail market. Yet this pales in comparison to the potential market size once awareness and knowledge gaps can be overcome. Based on the Christian population, and research about their interests in aligning investments with their faith, the early adopter market for BRI is around $1.5 trillion.
The potential market for Faith Based Investing is as much as $8.4 trillion, so there is plenty of room to grow the assets in Faith Based Investing products as more funds and fund managers focus on this unmet market need.
Are you an Evangelical organization?
We are not affiliated with any one religious denomination but rather strive to open dialogue among Christians of different denominations who are interested in the intersection of faith and investing.
What is Biblically Responsible Investing?
We view the concept of Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI) as investing that seeks to please and glorify God as a vital act of worship. In an effort to worship God through the investment selection, BRI is an investment decision making process that applies Christian values to issues facing shareholders and stakeholders regarding moral, environmental, social, corporate governance, and applicable Biblical principles. This coupled with traditional financial analysis provides a platform for investment decisions that allows us to view our role as stewards of God’s gifts to us and also respect the foundational beliefs of our shared Christian faith. There are a variety of terms used by investors and funds that describe this same concept. Among them are: Faith Based Investing, Values Investing, Christian Values Investing, Morally Responsible Investing, Stewardship Investing, and many others.
Does CIF have a “litmus” test on what constitutes BRI?
No! That is a very dangerous approach to faith and faith based investing. But we also do not subscribe to the concept of moral relativism, which is equally dangerous. Ultimately, you and your religious denomination or affiliation should guide your values and priorities as you seek to incorporate Faith Based Investing into your investment decisions.
Why should I engage in Faith Based Investing?
CIF believes that Faith Based Investing, or BRI, is a credible and more integrated approach to investing, one that more closely aligns wealth accumulation with our ideals as Christians. BRI funds are now widely available across asset classes (65 Funds from CIF Member Firms, with over 100 funds from BRI firms and Christian institutions). The performance of BRI funds is comparable to their benchmarks, with each individual fund having its own performance history. You and your advisor should consider carefully the funds you choose.
I’ve heard there are too few investment options available for BRI and the performance of screened portfolios lags the market. Is this true?
These are the most common misconceptions about BRI. Both are incorrect – there are many investment options today and it is growing, and performance is comparable to the rest of the financial industry. Current CIF Members offer 71 different funds across all major asset classes (29 different Morningstar categories for equities, bonds, and allocations), and more broadly there are over 100 different BRI funds available. Additionally, there are firms that specialize in providing services to those advisors interested in BRI to help screen, help build portfolios, and provide broker dealer services. Within the CIF Member firm funds, over 30% of them have Morningstar ratings of 4 Star or 5 Star, and have some of the industry’s top awards and performance records.
What Funds are available that use BRI?
We have a chart of the different funds offered from CIF Member firms, which totals over 65 different investment choices across many asset classes, as well as other services available. You can find it here: CIF Member Funds
What about performance of BRI Funds relative to the industry?
As the number of fund options increase, and the interest in aligning investing with values grows, there has been an increasing level of research into the issue of performance. The research is consistently verifying that incorporating values criteria into investment decisions does not reduce performance, and more often can lead to some out-performance. Here are 3 sources to check out:
You can find it here: CIF Member Funds
Is BRI compatible with fiduciary responsiblity?
The short answer is YES – BRI is compatible with fiduciary responsibility. USSIF has provided a useful short answer on the question of fiduciary responsibility and the use of values in the investment decision making. Here’s the USSIF Reponse to Fiduciary