As portfolio managers, we are tasked to look out for our customers—to offer higher returns, lower risk, and efficient tax avoidance while we grow their accounts and provide income in retirement. As stewards of our customer’s portfolios, we strive to the do the right thing in terms of selecting investment products that build up society, do good, and follow Christian principles.
There is often confusion about the difference between Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) and Morally Responsible Investing (MRI). We’ll try to make it simple.
Initially, SRI was used to describe investing in companies that did not profit from “bad” things like tobacco, alcohol, gambling, and firearms. The perception was that these companies promoted sickness, mental and physical abuse, failed relationships, bad habits, and even death. The term focused on which companies one would avoid, not what to invest in, but that has changed. Now SRI seeks out companies that do good—such as alternative energy/clean technologies, community organizations that provide needed services to the poor and disadvantaged, and others that improve the quality of life and reduce reliance on welfare. The focus is on society, not necessarily moral or ethical good as defined by Christian conscience.
MRI is a subset of SRI but is different because it screens out companies engaged in abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and pornography. It’s pro-life and pro-family. It’s a pillar of the Stewardship Foundation. MRI appeals to investors who want to buy into specific funds that match their moral compass.
As SRI investing became more popular (over $40 trillion in 2016), the term Impact Investing found its way onto the investment stage. The term refers to investing in companies that do the right thing. It actively targets firms, funds, or projects that provide a measurable benefit to society as a whole. Not limited to stocks, mutual funds, or ETFs, it includes private equity, venture capital, and debt investment programs. Investors in this arena are actively participating by putting their money where their mouth is.
Remember that the Stewardship Foundation’s endgame is financial growth for our clients. Whether you are saving for retirement or using your wealth to actively make the world a better place, the road we help you choose is paved with a Christian moral compass.