We recently had an opportunity to talk faith-consistent investing with an asset owner holding a top scoring – perfect 10 – investment policy and guidelines statement (IP&G), as captured in our FCI Scoring methodology described in ‘From Faith Values to Investment’.
Some larger learnings among many:
Why did they embark on FCI? ‘It was highly situational’ – there was a major structural change in the Church, in this case two church organisations came together, at the same time. ‘There was a push from constituents inside the church…’ with strong commitments to change from a few driven individuals involved in or engaged with church leadership as ‘key advocates’.
How did they proceed? ‘The first ten years were tough…we needed to build trust among different people in the church’, such as the finance staff, church leadership and theologians, the synods (assemblies) and others. They emphasised trust several times in the conversation – take the time to ‘build up trust…first…’ then ‘…look for people within the church community broadly who have both exposure to the faith and some investment experience…’ as ‘…while theologians can set the [FCI] themes, the work needs to be done by the finance professionals…’ in the church, and having participants who understand both groups helps greatly with translation and pragmatism.
How do they work? ‘Always have in mind how the church is going to implement [the FCI] criteria…the process is a balance between the church’s values and what’s pragmatic to financially implement’. They, like others we work with, also have a ‘wish list’ of future FCI projects – not pragmatic today but could be someday – and their wish list and IP&G re-examination are ‘an ongoing process…every 2 to 4 years we reissue new guidelines…’ reflecting their latest work. Lastly, their IP&G is not ‘forced’ on any other member church organization in their country; they spend time on education, promulgating and encouraging adoption, which they feel also helps keep them listening to what’s going on at the local level.
We’ve included an anonymized version of our scoring report for their IP&G, including how they rate versus the population of IP&Gs in our database.
If you’re interested in how your IP&G scores, where there may be gaps or areas to enhance, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.