Goal planning with faith-based investments

Aligning beliefs and values with financial objectives and investments is a long-standing mission of faith-based institutions and individuals. We can help navigate the complexity of different approaches and determine how faith-based investing can help ensure your organization’s mission is in line with your financial goals and objectives.

We take into consideration the values, missions and stewardships that are important to your organization to shape your investment philosophy and plan. We enable stewards to prudently balance investing responsibly with fiduciary best practices as we seek to maximize return for risk taken.

As leaders of the impact investing movement throughout history, faith-based investors helped establish guidelines in the 19th century that avoided investments in companies promoting or manufacturing alcohol, tobacco, gambling and weapons, as well as supporting those that promote equality and inclusivity.

Fast forward to today, and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), constructed of more than 300 religious organizations, is a coalition of faith and values-driven organizations – from institutions, colleges and universities to pension funds and asset management companies – that view investment management as a catalyst for change in the social realm. These organizations represent more than $100 billion in invested capital.

What investments are considered faith-based can vary by the mission and teachings of the faith the individual or institution follows. In the Catholic faith, investment guidelines were established in 2003 and delineate specific areas to be considered as part of the investment selection process. However, they leave room for interpretation depending on the preferences of each organization and individual while maintaining fiscally sound, responsible and accountable investing that addresses broader moral concerns and supports efforts to help the church respond to local and regional needs.

We work with the following Catholic organizations:

  • Dioceses
  • Religious institutes
  • Foundations
  • Endowments
  • Educational institutions
  • Health care organizations

Positive screens can include investments in companies that derive revenues from or promote:

  • Access to affordable housing
  • High labor standards
  • High environmental standards
  • High corporate social responsibility

Negative screens can include restricting investment in companies that derive significant revenue from:

  • Life ethics
  • Adult entertainment
  • Weapons and tobacco
  • Predatory lending
  • Human rights deficiencies
  • Race or gender discrimination

Institutions typically explore the full range of faith-based values approaches including negative and positive screening as well as additional stakeholder engagement to help determine the most suitable method in regard to the organization’s financial goals and objectives.

At times, institutional investors choose to work with a qualified third party to help lead the discovery process alongside our team to assist the board and/or committee with appropriate questions related to developing customized faith-based guidelines for the organization.

After deciding to integrate faith-based values into your investment portfolio, we work to build an investment plan or investment policy statement (IPS) to help set expectations and provide flexibility to allow the investment strategy to evolve and adapt in the future.

Through meetings, our team can direct the conversation to help gain consensus with stakeholders and boards in regard to the investment plan and IPS. Beyond the establishment of incorporating faith-based values and the investment plan/IPS, we can help determine which strategy may be best suited to your organization’s needs.

Since each approach is custom to your organization’s unique mission, values and needs, we believe education is pivotal to executing a successful investment strategy. That’s why we can help you and your organization understand the different screening approaches for investments and tailor your strategy to help meet your specific needs.

We pursue this approach across most asset classes in your portfolio, and can provide various detailed opportunities from equity, fixed income and alternative investment managers. In addition, we can discuss whether incorporating faith-based values makes sense for the entire portfolio or for only a portion of assets.

Learn more about faith-based investing »

Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of the strategy selected. There are additional risks associated with Sustainable/Socially Responsible Investing (SRI), including limited diversification and the potential for increased volatility. There is no guarantee that SRI products or strategies will produce returns similar to traditional investments. Because SRI criteria exclude certain securities/products for non-financial reasons, investors may forego some market opportunities available to those who do not use these criteria. Investors should consult their investment professional prior to making an investment decision.

Raymond James is not affiliated and does not endorse the opinions or services of any organizations mentioned.