Showing a little faith

Feb 11, 2008 @ 12:01 am

By Matt Jacobs

People are no longer content to merely walk with God. They want to invest with him, too.

That is the reason why IW Financial has created two indexes founded on faith-based investment principles.

"The entire space of investors interested in applying their values, faith-based or otherwise, is growing," said Mark Bateman, director of research for IW Financial, a Portland, Maine-based provider of values-based investment plans.

IW Financial developed the Catholic Values Index (CVI) and the Conservative Christian Values Index (CCVI), which allow investors to diversify their money in small- to large-capitalization companies without compromising their religious values. The indexes comprise companies that are consistent with Catholicism and conservative Christianity, respectively.

The Catholic Values Index is based on the Catholic Bishops' Guidelines, a document that states the business practices that the Catholic Church deems unfit for investment. The list excludes companies invested in the production of weapons, pornography, contraception or abortion.

The guidelines don't state any stipulations on same-sex partnerships or the companies that support them, so those can be included in the index.

The creation of the Conservative Christian Values Index involved establishing moral criteria that determined if a company could be included in the index. A company needed, for example, to have a solid human-rights profile and a positive office environment."Our process for the Conservative Christian index was a hybrid of [comparison] and exclusion," Mr. Bateman said.

Companies that are involved in gambling, tobacco, alcohol, stem-cell research and abortion are excluded from the index.

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