Summit 2019 Resources Links

2019 CIF Leadership Summit Highlights

2019 CIF Leadership Summit Resource Links

 

Based on the interest expressed by the attendees, we’ve made some of the resources and media from the 2019 Summit available for your personal use.  This is a private webpage exclusively for Summit attendees.

Additional videos and resources will be added, so please check back regularly.

2019 Session Presentations and Handouts

Below are links to the Session presentations in pdf format:

 

OPENING PLENARY | Climbing Together – A Faith-Based Investing Journey

Presentation (pdf) – LINK

Video:  LINK

WEDNESDAY EVENING PLENARY | Trends – Christians, Faith & Investing

Presentation (pdf) – LINK 

Video:  LINK

WEDNESDAY EVENING KEYNOTE | Whose Work Matters to God?

Video: LINK

THURSDAY PLENARY | Planning for Biblical Generosity and Missional Investing 

Video:  LINK

THURSDAY PLENARY  | Investment Manager Roundtable 

Video: LINK

CLOSING PLENARY | Walking The Jericho Road Together – The Power of Proximity 

Video: LINK

 

 

1A | Case Study – An Investment Committee Review

In this interactive session, become a member of a hypothetical investment committee.  As Christian financial leaders, together we will consider the fundamental and screening factors to consider with mutual funds and individual companies when building a portfolio.  After some deliberation we will take a vote on which investments to include in our portfolio!

Participants – Hillary Sunderland, Benji Bailey; moderated by Cassie Laymon

Presentation Slides (pdf) – LINK

 

1B | An Overview of Faith Driven Investing

This session will provide a summary of the theological foundation and business basis for Faith Driven Investing, as well as present an overview of the Faith Based investing market, the estimated size and opportunity, and the fundamentals of what can constitute a Faith based investing approach (screening, ESG, corporate governance, and impact).  While this session will cover the topics in an overview fashion, it will also provide opportunity to engage in conversations with other leaders, and help guide participants towards the other sessions they may choose to attend.

Participants – Martha Strebinger – Parametric, John Siverling – CIF; moderated by Chad Horning

Presentation Slides (pdf) – LINK

 

2A | The State of Impact Investing for Faith Investors

In this follow-up to the breakout session in 2018, we will explore further the opportunities and challenges in the Impact Investing space for Christian advisors, investors, and asset owners.  After providing a common definition and overview in 2018, we will take some further steps to expand the discussion into practice.

Participants – Justin Conway – Calvert Impact Capital, Josh Ruyle – Hope International, Jake Thomsen – Sovereign’s Capital; moderated by Dan Hardt

Presentation Slides (pdf) – LINK

 

2B | Products & Strategies for Faith Based Investors

The landscape for Christian investors continues to evolve and grow with more products and more sophisticated tools to support their Faith based investing priorities.  SmartBeta offerings with Christian faith alignment are expanding.  This session will provide introductions to several of the new ideas in the market and get feedback from the Summit participants on some new ETF’s and a SMA offering for advisors and institutions.

This session will take a look at some new ETF’s and a SMA offering for advisors and institutions.

Participants – Dave Beatty – Veriti, David Moore – Timothy; moderated by Brian Mumbert

Presentation Slides (pdf) – LINK

 

2C | Strategies for Corporate Engagement

How do we, as Christian investors, manage the responsibilities that come with the ownership role of our investments?  The practices of corporate engagement—including proxy voting, shareholder advocacy, investor statements, and the filing of corporate resolutions—are an important part of faith-based investing. As corporate influence in our world grows, it is important that we as Christians manage our own potential for impact in support of Kingdom values and objectives.

 Participants – Rev David Shilling – ICCR, Chris Miller – ISS; moderated by Mark Regier

No Presentation Slides Available

 

3A | Perspectives from Impact Investors

This session will offer a perspective on Impact Investing from investors in Kingdom Impact Investing that is fully committed to impact investing, including a faith based initiative.  Investors and advsiors can learn from the experiences of investors well versed in the intentionality and measurement challenges and opportunities with this sector of Faith Based investing that is receiving so much media attention.  How do they define Kingdom Impact Investing, how do they measure the impact, what is their vision for the future and what barriers exist to make that a reality are some of the topics to be addressed.

Participants – Wendy Rogers – Griffin Family Investments, Keith Phillips & Libby Peterson – Phillips Family Office, Rich Veres – Highland Consulting; moderated by Steve French

No Presentation Slides Available

 

3B | The Implications of Research:  ESG, BRI and Values

Good research has always been fundamental to prudent investment management.  The emergence of research going beyond the financial has presented both challenges and opportunities, particularly for managers seeking to develop competitive, Biblically Responsible or socially-motivated portfolios.  How do investment managers use this new watershed of data?  What difference does this research make in how portfolios are built and presented to clients?  How do clients and advisors understand the implications of the various screening/rating systems available?

Participants – Mark Bateman – ENSOGO, Hannah Cumming – Eventide, Rachel McDonough – Ameriprise; moderated by Dwight Short

Presentation Slides (pdf) – LINK

 

3C |   Aligning Retirement Plans with Organizational Mission and Values

Many organizations have made significant commitments to align their business or organizational practices to their faith and values.  However, these commitments are often not reflected in corporations’ retirement plan investment strategies, despite the fact that several recent studies show a majority of employees want to invest in a future that is more aligned with their values. Millennial-aged employees now represent the majority of the US workforce, and creating retirement plans that connect to their core values—such as solving human, social and environmental problems —can attract the best and brightest, spark innovation, and increase retention.

This session will expand on last year’s well received panel discussion about the legal and logistical issues around retirement plans aligned with mission.

Participants – Bruce Bruinsma – Envoy, Hillary Sunderland – Beacon Wealth, Alex Ryan – Groom Law; moderated by Harry Nelson

Presentation Slides (pdf) – LINK

 

 

2019 Summit Feedback Survey

If you haven’t yet provided feedback on the Summit, please complete this short survey:

Feedback Survey

Premier Partners

Our special thanks to these partners for their support of the Christian Investment Summit

Christian Investing Study

Christian Investing Study

The Christian Investment Forum is collaborating with a leading market research firm to propose a comprehensive landmark Christian Investing Study to examine the investment attitudes and behaviors of practicing Christians:

  • This project would include a customized segmentation study, interviews with multiple stakeholders, profiles of exemplar investors, and a published monograph including infographics, analysis and expert commentary.
  • The purpose of the study would be to provide an overview of existing practices in the market and highlight potential ways to better serve and support Christians in their investing decisions, and provide concrete action steps for investment professionals serving and supporting Christians in their endeavors in this area.
  • The study is proposed to commence in early 2019, completing in early 2020. This study could also serve as a baseline for future annual or bi-annual follow-up studies to track progress in this area.
  • Stakeholders who would participate in the study include:
    • Christian investors
    • Investment organizations and professionals who provide services to Christian investors
    • Leaders and pastors in the Church and ministry world

This will be foundational and a groundbreaking study into the language, landscape and shape of Christian investing in today’s world.  The purpose is to better understand and equip Christians, and the professionals, leaders and organizations who serve them, to help them collectively become more missional and effective in investing their resources for Kingdom purposes.

Objectives for the market research project:

  • Gain an overall understanding of Christians as investors and how investing fits into their view of faith (how related is investing to faith and work integration, faith and culture, and faith and impact).
  • Identify what Christian investors need and want in the area of investing (products, services, benefits, advice, etc.) to help them better integrate investing with faith.
  • Highlight the nature and extent of the gap between what Christians express in terms of investing with faith and their actual practices (words vs. actions).
  • Heighten awareness of Christian values investing as a credible approach to investment, regardless of church denomination and amount of assets owned, and as an approach that has many products and options available now in the market.
  • De-mystify faith-based and Biblically responsible approaches to investing for regular Christians and the Church.
  • Elevate and broaden awareness of these approaches through media communications and Christian Investment Forum members PR efforts.
  • Develop potential strategic and tactical solutions that CIF can incorporate into planning for the organization and its partners and members. GOALS

 

We Envision A Better Future:

Currently many Christians consider investing mostly in terms of getting market rate or better results through their investments in equity, bond or private equity funds, separate from their tithing or giving strategies to support church and Kingdom work.  That is, they invest to increase their resources so they have more to give away.

 

 

Envisioning a Better Future would have Christians actively applying their faith beliefs and Biblical principles to all of their investment decisions and activities for a greater overall Kingdom outcome.  This “enhanced” approach to stewardship would have Christians see their entire portfolio of investments aligned with their faith beliefs and practices. Investments viewed and managed in this way can provide a double bottom line and better use investing for Christian purposes in the world.

Insights to Action – Helping Christians think and act with more faith alignment in their investment decisions.

 

Click on the image below to view the short presentation regarding this landmark study:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’d like to learn more about this study, support the study or participate in some way, please contact John Siverling at jsiverling@christianinvestmentforum.org

 

 

Impacting the Kingdom Presentation

Impacting the Kingdom is the title of a presentation shared with various financial advisor groups by CIF.  Due to a number of requests, shown below and included are both a pdf file format as well as a presentation style that includes transitions.

The agenda and purpose of the presentation was to:

  1. Introduce (or re-introduce) the Christian Investment Forum
  2. Provide definitions for Faith Based Investing (or BRI) and some of the fundamentals associated with this investing approach
  3. Provide some rationale for the use of BRI in advisor engagements with investor clients
  4. Share some of the resources available from CIF to enable the implementation of Faith Based Investing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PDF Format Version

This version of the deck will open directly as a pdf

Impacting the Kingdom Deck (Dec2018)

 

Powerpoint Presentation Format Version

This version will download (~7 MB)

Impacting the Kingdom Deck (120118)

Summit 2018 Resources Links

2018 CIF Summit Highlights

Summit 2018 Resource Links

 

Based on the interest expressed by the attendees, we’ve made some of the resources and media from the Summit available for you.

2018 Session Presentations and Handouts

Below are links to the Session presentations in pdf format:

 

Opening Plenary | Climbing Higher

Panelists – Jeff Cave, Eventide; Dwight Short, Christian Investment Forum (Moderator)

Presentation Slides (pdf) – LINK

 

1A: Alternatives Investing | Investing in Alternatives without Losing Your Values

Alternative investments such as hedge funds, venture capital, timber and others are valuable investments in larger diversified portfolios and have historically provided high returns that benefit the overall portfolio.  The challenge for Faith based investors is the limits in transparency into the funds, or control over how and where investments may be made.   This session will provide some insights from firms that have successfully incorporated alternatives while remaining aligned to their organization’s policies.  It will also offer some cautions on what to look out for and some of the problems that may be encountered while trying to deliver higher returns in a responsible way.

Panelists – Jamil McNeal, GuideStone; Jake Thomsen, Sovereign’s Capital; Will Lofland, GuideStone (Moderator)

Presentation Slides (pdf) – LINK

 

1B: Research & Analytics | Understanding Rating Systems

Non-financial investment ratings systems can both clarify and confuse in the era of big data.  More information than ever before is available to managers and advisors on the values and ESG impact of their investments.  We’ll discuss the challenges and opportunities with both investors and ratings providers.

Panelists – Randall Edwards, ENSOGO Analytics; Sarah Smith, Sustainalytics; Martin Wildy, Eventide; Chad Horning, Everence Financial (Moderator)

Presentation Slides (pdf) – LINK

 

1C: Legal and Fiduciary Issues | What’s Next with DOL?

As uncertainty continues to grow on the regulatory landscape, Investment Boards are continually faced with issues on fiduciary requirements, standards of care, and how to stay true to their organizational mission as well as to their financial stewardship responsibility.  This session will dive into these questions and more.

Panelists – Alex Ryan, Groom Law Group; Harry Nelson, Eventide (Moderator)

Presentation Slides (pdf) – LINK

 

2A: Impact Investing | The State of Impact Investing for Faith Investors

Impact Investing is quickly gaining popularity in the media.  Millennials are frequently cited as driving some of the interest and demand.  Yet the term can be confusing and the trends can be misinterpreted.  This session seeks to provide some general perspectives for those new to the concept, provide some of the early studies on the size of the market, particularly from a faith consistent perspective, and provide some guidance on how and what to consider within portfolios from those with direct experience as practitioners and advisors.

Panelists – Endel Liias, Nexus Impact Advisors; Katherine St. Onge, Calvert Impact Capital; Doug Young, MicroVest Fund; Kelley Shepherd, Cambridge Associates (Moderator)

Presentation Slides (pdf) – LINK

More resources on Kingdom Impact Investing, and impact investing more broadly, is available here: LINK

 

2B: Implementation Best Practices | BRI Screening – A Deeper Dive

Inclusionary and exclusionary screening of companies in an investment universe is one of the most commonly described ways that faith and values is proactively incorporated into investing.  While the concept of screening is simple to understand, its use in practice is often much more complex.  To better understand that complexity, this session will delve deeply into a specific issue area to show how the process of screening is robust, and the decisions required through that process take well intentioned thought.

Panelists – Zachary Covert, Timothy Plan; Joseph Williams, MSCI; Brian Mumbert, Timothy Plan (Moderator)

Presentation Slides (pdf) – LINK

 

3A: Board and Advisor Relationships |Managing the Complexities of a Board Role

Board Members have many issues they are asked to consider in their fiduciary roles on the Board.  The perspectives and opinions of each are different and result from their own unique experiences.  IPS development, and investment decisions, are impacted by external forces such as regulatory agencies and the Board Member’s own outside activities.  What are some of the most important issues Boards are facing today?  What are some ways to communicate with and engage your Board so they can be productive in thinking through the issues of ESG from a faith perspective?

Panelists – Jon Wiebe, MB Foundation; Bryan Taylor, Cornerstone Management (Moderator)

Presentation Slides (pdf) – LINK

 

3B: Investment Policy Statements | Implementing a faith-based IPS – Revisited

The Investment Policy Statement (IPS) is the critical guiding document for how an investment portfolio should be managed based on the principles and policies approved by the Investment Committee.  It can also be a valuable guiding document for individual investors and their advisors to insure alignment with the investors priorities, risk tolerances, and values.  The IPS is an important step in effectively integrating the values of the investor into the investment portfolio, and insuring proper fiduciary stewardship.  This session will provide some guidance on how an IPS can be developed successfully, using examples of advisors and organizations that have worked together to make that happen.

Panelists – Rick Laymon, Beacon Wealth Consultants; Rich Veres, In His Steps Foundation; Dwight Short, Christian Investment Forum (Moderator)

Presentation Slides (pdf) – LINK

 

3C: Management Best Practices | Demonstrating Value in Client Engagements

With the growth in robo-advisors and other tools that commoditize basic aspects of financial advice, it has never been more important as an advisor to differentiate your practice and demonstrate value to clients.  As advisors interested or advocating Biblically wise counsel and Biblically based investing, there are options to help in demonstrating value.  This session is designed to offer some examples of tools and processes that can help in that effort, along with experiences from advisors.

Panelists – Mark Riefer, Clear Money Path; Ross Roggensack, Oak City Consulting; Chad Hamilton, Advisor Solutions 360 (Moderator)

Presentation Slides (pdf) – LINK

 

4A: Fundamentals of Faith based investing | Shareholder Advocacy – Making a Difference for Kingdom Values

How can our investments reflect Kingdom Values and make a real difference in the world around us?  Join a panel of experienced experts as they share stories of the art and power of corporate engagement.  Learn how this work continues to be refined and how advisors are using it to add value and impact to their client relationships.

Panelists – Josh Humphreys, Croatan Institute; Mark Regier, Praxis Mutual Funds; Tom Strobhar, Strobhar Financial; Will Lofland, GuideStone (Moderator)

Presentation Slides (pdf) – LINK

 

4B: Investing Strategies for Faith based Investors | Aligning Retirement Plans with Organizational Mission and Values

Many organizations have made significant commitments to align their business or organizational practices to their faith and values.  However, these commitments are often not reflected in corporations’ retirement plan investment strategies, despite the fact that several recent studies show a majority of employees want to invest in a future that is more aligned with their values. Millennial-aged employees now represent the majority of the US workforce, and creating retirement plans that connect to their core values—such as solving human, social and environmental problems —can attract the best and brightest, spark innovation, and increase retention.

This panel will discuss case studies of companies that have successfully transitioned their retirement plans to align with corporate and employee values.

Panelists – Bruce Bruinsma, Envoy Financial; Hillary Sunderland, Beacon Wealth Consultants; Harry Nelson, Eventide (Moderator)

Presentation Slides (pdf) – LINK

 

2018 Summit Feedback Survey

If you haven’t yet provided feedback on the Summit, please complete this short survey:

Feedback Survey

Premier Partners

Our special thanks to these partners for their support of the Christian Investment Summit

Impact Investing Resources

Impact Investing Resources & Links

Below are some useful impact investing resources and links to organizations, databases, and information on the topic.  A more comprehensive resource page or section of the CIF website is being developed to focus on Kingdom Impact Investing.

 

Kingdom Impact Investing Resources:

 

Nexus Impact Advisor

This consulting firm is focused on impact investing, and more specifically targets Kingdom impact investing:  LINK .  Nexus has authored a White Paper on BRI and Impact Investing that can be found on their website:  LINK 

Impact Foundation

This donor advised fund Christian foundation allows investors to create donor advised funds (DAF) that can invest into private companies and venture or private equity funds that focus on Kingdom impact investing: LINK

The Lion’s Den

An organization that hosts business plan competitions for Kingdom minded companies to present to potential investors, as well as some educational programming.  Started in Birmingham, Alabama: LINK , but now with another in Dallas, Texas: LINK 

Praxis Labs

A non-profit organization set up to help mentor and fund “redemptive entrepreneurship”, through both for-profit and non-profit startups: LINK

Faith Driven Entrepreneur

This website was created to help support Christian entrepreneurs in aligning their work with their faith: LINK

Faith Driven Investor

This beta website was created by the same team that started Faith Driven Entrepreneur to help support Christians interested in how to invest in alignment with their faith, with a focus towards Kingdom impact investing: LINK

Sovereign’s Capital

A venture fund manager focused on investing in companies with Christian values alignment in their management and mission: LINK

 

General Impact Investing Resources:

TONIIC

Describes itself as the “global action community for impact investors”, with plenty of research and tools for the broad impact investing market:   LINK

Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN)

This network is not specific for Christians and impact investing, but is one of the top resources for the impact investing segment as a whole:  LINK

A list of the tools and research available from the GIIN website: LINK

 

 

Impact Investing Databases:

iPar Analytics

An aggregation database of funds, fund managers, and measurement goals for Impact Investing: LINK

ImpactBase

A database of both public and private impact funds managed by the GIIN: LINK

TONIIC Database

A list of funds maintained by TONIIC, another industry group: LINK

The Impact Assets 50

A list of private impact funds: LINK

 

CIF Code of Conduct

 

CODE OF CONDUCT

 

 

 

As members of the Christian Investment Forum, we recognize the importance of establishing a clear and transparent code of conduct with which we engage in relationship with each member firm, with colleagues and competitors in the financial services industry, and with the general public.  As a not for profit entity working to promote faith based and Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI); it is incumbent on us to set the highest standards and be exemplary in our relationships.  We view the concept of biblically responsible investing as investing that seeks to please and glorify God as a vital act of worship.

We accept the fact that working with Christians, and working to reflect Christian values means that we are responsible to strive to act as Christ perfectly demonstrated.  However, we also acknowledge that there is diversity of thought within the Christian movement regarding how we live out that call.  Therefore, we have the responsibility to avoid judgment of others and their investment approach.  This Code of Conduct highlights the principles which members of the Christian Investment Forum believe to be our reasonable expectations.  The principles of this Code are expressed in broad statements to guide ethical decision making. These statements provide a framework; they cannot and do not dictate conduct to cover particular situations.

Principle #1 – We will Respect others’ Rights and Dignity. 

We are a community that thrives in relationship with one another.  We will respect that relationship with other members and their rights and opinions, just as we expect them to respect our rights and opinions.

Principle #2 – We accept the Personal and Professional Responsibility of membership.

In public speaking opportunities and in conversations, we encourage members to promote themselves and their firms as part of the CIF community, and to speak passionately about BRI.  We encourage our members to present Biblically Responsible Investing including all the features, advantages, and benefits that are part of their business practice.   All CIF members, understanding that BRI is a complex and unique style of investing, reject the concept of a singular approach to Biblically Responsible Investing, and discourage the practice of criticizing others in a judgmental way.

Principle #3 – We accept responsibility to our Community and our Society.

We will work to promote the Common Good of the Christian Faith.  We can have the greatest impact by widening the network of those that consider and act upon their Christian values in their work and in their finances.

Principle #4 – We will act with Integrity. 

As a member of the Christian Investment Forum, we will strive to consistently act with integrity to our faith and to the principles of CIF.

As a member of CIF, we have read and agree with the vision for CIF established in the Organizing Document entitled “WHITE PAPER ON THE RATIONALE FOR THE CHRISTIAN INVESTMENT FORUM (CIF)”, and specifically the sections shown below as they relate to the Vision and associated belief statement.

VISION

To build awareness and promote adoption of biblically responsible investing, and to offer resources to promote faith based investing strategies for Christians.

What is CIF?

The Christian Investment Forum (CIF) 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.

CIF strives to be an organization that enables others to advance and promote biblically responsible investing (BRI), and cause greater Kingdom impact.

We are a 501c6 non-profit trade 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.

The CIF Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization that is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Christian Investment Forum.  CIF Foundation will provide training and events to support CIF, and can accept charitable donations from those interested in supporting our activities.

The Christian Investment Forum defines biblically responsible investing as follows:

Biblically Responsible Investing, or BRI, applies Christian values to investment decision making by incorporating moral and social principles into traditional financial analysis.  BRI provides a platform for the faithful stewardship of God’s gifts on the basis of our shared Christian faith.  BRI seeks to invest in and own companies that best represent those Christian values.

We believe in one true and eternal triune God; we believe in Jesus Christ as God incarnate, fully God and fully man, one Person in two natures; and we believe in his sinless life, his sacrifice in death and his victory in resurrection.  We believe in his teachings that reinforced God’s two greatest commandments – “to love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind; and to love our neighbors as ourselves.”

We are open to all who are Christians, and we hope to work hand in hand with all of God’s people.  We desire to be an organization that will enable an open dialogue on these topics within the Christian community and among all of God’s people.

 

A pdf version of this Code of Conduct is available HERE – CIF Code of Conduct (2017)

Landscape Study on Christian Investing Highlights Opportunities and Needs

Recently a new study was published by Nexus Impact Advisors on Christian based investing.  The study author, Endel Liias, notes that it is there “hope that this information will be useful to people across the Christian investing spectrum—from investors and philanthropists to investees and entrepreneurs to the intermediaries, educators, and advisors that connect them.”

The report attempts to shape the full breadth of the market by offering some definitions for different segments to better classify the entire landscape of investing with Christian values.  The report is merely an introduction, as it was meant to be, and offers us the chance to follow-up with some well-designed research and studies to further expand our knowledge of each sector in more detail.  Why is that important or worth doing?  For several reasons.  First, it provides validation of the market opportunity that is currently underserved in hopes it can grow.  Second, it reinforces the professionalism and credibility of Christian investing against some common and long standing misperceptions or biases.  Third, it can identify potential gaps that providers can address or fill.  Fourth, it guides the ability to measure and analyze to determine if progress is being made.  Finally, it can offer the support of community to those involved or those considering to get involved.

Here is one highlight and some concluding thoughts from the report:

  • Overall, impact investing is estimated to total approximately $114 billion, with Kingdom Impact Investing estimated to be $2.0 – $3.0 billion. There is a much larger opportunity as the infrastructure matures, more options become available, and more investors gain an appreciation.

As the report concludes:

“The wide range of stakeholders and activities in Biblically-responsible and Christian impact investing is evidence of a robust and burgeoning marketplace, and this growth is likely to continue apace in the coming years.”

“Over the next three decades, approximately $30T in assets will be passed from baby boomers to millennials—the largest intergenerational wealth transfer in history. This will have major implications for the way money is invested, as younger generations increasingly look to spend and invest in accordance with their social, environmental, and moral convictions. “

“This presents particularly unique opportunities for development of the Christian investing marketplace… Meeting this demand will require the skills, creativity, and hard work of stakeholders across the Christian investing industry, as well as the participation of new entrants. “

 

The report is available at the website of Nexus Impact Advisors HERE .  The website contains much more information, research, and resources for impact investing generally and Kingdom Impact Investing more specifically.  A visit to the site is highly recommended.

About Nexus – Nexus Impact Advisors is a mission-driven research and advisory firm specializing in impact investing.  To learn more, visit www.nexusimpactadvisors.com .

 

 

How Do I Get Started with Biblically Responsible Investing

As an investor, you have the right to be proactive in assessing your investment portfolio.  Some may say you have a responsibility to be proactive as the owner of the investments.  And you don’t have to be an expert in finance and investing.

If you use a financial advisor, they can and should understand your values and how those values need to be central to how your money is managed and invested, how your advisor thinks about the other important factors of your financial well-being, such as tax issues, retirement, estate planning, charitable giving, and others.

Thanks to Dwight Short, from his book Profit or Principles, here are a few questions you can ask yourself as you think about your investments and your relationship to your advisor.

  • Does your advisor ever ask you about your faith journey to see if it is important in how you are investing your funds?
  • Is there clear communication in regard to how your advisor charges for their services? (Com­missions, fees, expenses for services, etc.)
  • Has your advisor indicated any experience in screening investment choices to reflect a Chris­tian worldview?
  • Would your advisor pray with you and ask God’s blessings on you?
  • Do you feel confident that your advisor is look­ing at you instead of your money?
  • Would you trust this advisor to help your chil­dren, grandchildren or a sick relative?
  • Is this advisor knowledgeable in a wide variety of subjects, especially in finance?

 

Once you’ve had a chance to consider these questions, you may now be ready to engage in a conversation with your advisor.  Here are some questions to help you get started:

  • Have you heard of any of these investing philosophies? Biblically responsible investing (BRI), Socially responsible investing (SRI), ESG investing, or Impact Investing?
  • I’d like to consider how I can incorporate this type of investing into my portfolio, and I’d like your help, what can you do to help me with this?

If you prefer to do your own investing, our members firms are happy to help you with that process.  A summary of each firm’s approach is available on our website, as well as contact information for the firm so you can begin a conversation.  You don’t have to be alone on your journey.

BRI

Learning More About Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI)

Thanks for your interest in learning more about BRI.  To many the term has an underlying meaning.  For some it is positive, for others negative.  To most Americans, including Christians, it is unfamiliar and we hope to change that.

CIF is a non-profit organization that was formed by top performing mutual fund companies and financial professionals who wanted advisors and investors to understand that excellence in investing is an outcome from their faith, not a distraction or deterrent.

BRI stands for Biblically responsible investing, a term coined by a financial advisor to express the desire to invest in and own companies that align with Biblical principles.  This idea of investing in things we believe in and love has been around for centuries.  Today investing has become more complicated but the idea remains simple and possible.

Faith based investing is another way to express the idea of BRI.  There are many other terms that people use for the same idea – they include socially responsible investing, morally responsible investing, faith consistent investing, values based investing, impact investing, and the list continues.  Rather than get caught up in the term, here is how CIF describes the approach:

 “BRI is an investment decision making process that applies Christian values to issues facing shareholders and stakeholders regarding moral and social principles.  This coupled with traditional financial analysis provides a platform for investment decisions that allows us to be faithful stewards of God’s gifts and respect the foundational beliefs of our shared Christian faith.”

In short, it is an approach to investing assets in a way that is aligns with the investor’s faith, values and Biblical beliefs.

Below is more information about BRI, and our entire website is here to share information, research, tools, resources, and support with you.

 

Understanding BRI

You may have some very specific beliefs about what Biblically responsible investing, or Faith based investing should look like.  Or you may be just trying to learn about it.  At the Christian Investment Forum, we want to help in both cases.

For those who have spent time considering the topic, we seek to offer additional research, tools and support.

For those just hearing the terms for the first time, we want to strip away some of the mystery and fear.   We want to help you appreciate it is a pretty simple concept, and there are resources available to help guide you through the process.

You can start HERE

 

Why BRI

Why does the Christian Investment Forum believe Faith based investing, or BRI, should be considered by Christians as they invest?  We give our reasoning and the reassurance that Biblically responsible investing is possible, it can still deliver returns, and it can make you feel better about where your money is invested and what you own.

To learn about why BRI, click HERE

 

Here’s a short video that provides some of that reasoning – Video Jane’s BRI Moment LINK

 

Performance of BRI

Today with many studies and research performed, we can say that there is no direct relationship between investing in alignment with your faith, or BRI, and lower investment returns.  For years this has been presented as an argument against BRI, and about the broader socially and responsible investing category.

The link above provides information on a number of studies performed that have proven this to be false.  There are many other studies as well, and we have a page of links to other resources available HERE.  The website of the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investing (USSIF) has an excellent summary of more research on the broad investing approach of values based investing HERE.

Don’t miss this point – You don’t have to give up investment returns when investing in alignment with your faith and values.

Resources for BRI Performance

The Christian Investment Forum has published it own research on the performance of CIF Member funds compared to industry averages, and you can read it in more detail HERE

There is also a page summarizing some of the top 3rd party research we’ve found on the topic available HERE

 

For more studies, see this list:

Reference List of Published Studies on the Performance of Values based investing compared to industry averages

 “The Impact of Faith-Based Screens on Investment Performance.” The Journal of Investing, Fall 2010

“Shedding Light on Responsible Investment: Approaches, Returns, Impacts”, Mercer Investment Consulting, November, 2009

“Sustainable Investing: Establishing Long-Term Value and Performance”, Deutsche Bank, June 2012

“Optimizing Environmental, Social, and Governance Factors in Portfolio Construction”, MSCI, February 2013

“The Performance Cost of Social Screening”, Aris Corporation

“Valuing Corporate Social Responsibility”, McKinsey

“Private Capital, Public Good”, U.S. NAB Report, June 2014

“You Don’t Have to Sacrifice Returns for Sustainability”, Morningstar, August 2016

“ESG and Financial Performance: Aggregated Evidence from more than 2000 Empirical Studies”, Journal of Sustainable Finance and Investment, 2015

“Responsible Investing: Delivering Competitive Performance”, Nuveen TIAA Investments, July 2017

 

 

Research Citations from USSIF on Performance & SRI

The information below is from the USSIF website and more specific to the broader responsible investing industry.  To get more information, please visit that site by clicking HERE.

Studies

In 2017, Nuveen TIAA Investments released Responsible Investing: Delivering Competitive Performance. After assessing the leading SRI equity indexes over the long term, the firm “found no statistical difference in returns compared to broad market benchmarks, suggesting the absence of any systematic performance penalty. Moreover, incorporating environmental, social and governance criteria in security selection did not entail additional risk.” It added that SRI indexes had similar risk profiles to their broad market counterparts, based on Sharpe ratios and standard deviation measures.

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) and Cambridge Associates co-produced a report in 2017, The Financial Performance of Real Assets Impact Investments. After analyzing 55 real assets, including timber, real estate and infrastructure, the authors concluded that “risk-adjusted market rates of return are achievable in impact investing, as evidenced by the fact that the distribution of impact investing fund returns mirrors the distribution of conventional real asset fund returns…” The report explains the importance of fund selection because of the wide variation in individual fund returns.

Sustainable Investing and Bond Returns is a 2016 report by Barclays Research. To study the link between ESG incorporation and corporate bond performance, the team constructed broadly diversified portfolios tracking the Bloomberg Barclays US Investment-Grade Corporate Bond Index. They matched the index’s key characteristics but applied either a positive or negative tilt to different ESG factors. Barclays Research found that “…a positive ESG tilt resulted in a small but steady performance advantage…” They did not find evidence of negative performance.

In 2015, Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management and Hamburg University published an article titled ESG and Financial Performance: Aggregated Evidence From More Than 2,000 Empirical StudiesThe team conducted a meta-analysis of over 2,000 empirical studies since the 1970s, making it the most comprehensive review of academic research on this topic. They found that the majority of studies show positive findings between ESG and corporate financial performance (CFP). “The results show that the business case for ESG investing is empirically very well founded. Roughly 90% of studies find a nonnegative ESG–CFP relation. More importantly, the large majority of studies reports positive findings. We highlight that the positive ESG impact on CFP appears stable over time.”

From the Stockholder to the Stakeholder: How Sustainability Can Drive Financial Outperformance is a 2015 meta-study conducted by Oxford University and Arabesque Partners, which categorized more than 200 sources, including academic studies, industry reports, newspaper articles and books. According to their results, “88 percent of reviewed sources find that companies with robust sustainability practices demonstrate better operational performance, which ultimately translates into cash flows.” Furthermore, “80 percent of the reviewed studies demonstrate that prudent sustainability practices have a positive influence on investment performance.”

Sustainable Reality: Understanding the Performance of Sustainable Investment Strategies, a 2015 report by the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing, found that “investing in sustainability has usually met, and often exceeded, the performance of comparable traditional investments.” This is on both an absolute and a risk-adjusted basis, across asset classes and over time, based on its review of US-based mutual funds and separately managed accounts. “Sustainable equity mutual funds had equal or higher median returns and equal or lower volatility than traditional funds for 64 percent of the periods examined.”

In 2015, the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) and Cambridge Associates jointly published the report Introducing the Impact Investing Benchmark. The Cambridge Associates Impact Investing Benchmark includes over 50 private investment funds of vintage years 1998 to 2010 that have the specific objective to create positive, measurable social impact and to produce risk-adjusted, market-rate financial returns. Cambridge Associates measured the Impact Investing Benchmark against a comparative universe of 705 funds with no social impact objective in the same industries, geographies and asset classes and of the same vintage years. According to their analysis, “private impact funds—specifically private equity and venture capital funds—that pursue social impact objectives have recorded financial returns in line with a comparative universe of funds that only pursue financial returns.” The “funds in the Impact Investing Benchmark posted an IRR [internal rate of return] of 6.9 percent as of June 30, 2014, while a comparative universe of private investment funds with no social impact objectives and with the same vintage years returned 8.1 percent.” Additionally, “US-focused impact investing funds under $100 million returned a 13.1 percent pooled net IRR versus a 3.6 percent IRR for comparative US funds under $100 million.”

How and Why SRI Performance Differs from Conventional Strategies, a 2014 report by Envestnet | PMC investigated the differences in SRI and non-SRI domestic equity mutual fund performance. It analyzed average (mean) performance and also compared total and risk-adjusted returns at points on distributions away from the means. Among its findings, it found that “SRI and non-SRI fund performances are nearly identical at the mean, supporting the conclusion by SRI proponents that, on average, socially conscious investing does ‘no harm’ relative to unconstrained, conventional investing.”

Sustainable Investing: Establishing Long-Term Value and Performance, a 2012 meta-analysis by DB Climate Change Advisors of more than 100 academic studies, finds that incorporating environmental, social and governance data in investment analysis is “correlated with superior risk-adjusted returns at a securities level” and that SRI approaches that merely employ exclusionary screens, while showing little upside, do not underperform.

 

In November 2009, Mercer issued a report, Shedding Light on Responsible Investment: Approaches, Returns and Impacts, in which it reviewed a further 16 academic studies on SRI and financial performance that were published after the 2007 UNEP FI review. It found that of these 36 studies, published between 1995 and 2009, 20—more than half—found evidence of a positive relationship between ESG factors and financial performance, and only three found evidence of a negative relationship. It concluded that “a variety of factors, such as manager skill, investment style and time period, is integral to how ESG factors translate into investment performance; therefore, it is not a ‘given’ that taking ESG factors into account will have a uniform impact on portfolio performance, and we expect significant variation across industries.”

In October 2007, the Demystifying Responsible Investment Performance report issued by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) analyzed 20 influential pieces of academic work and 10 key broker studies exploring links between different approaches to responsible investment and investment performance. This comprehensive review found that SRI investment strategies are competitive with non-SRI strategies from a performance standpoint.

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