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Faith-based investors complete first-of-its-kind FCI course

FaithInvest's first online course on faith-consistent investing (FCI) was recently completed by a group of faith-based asset owners – and we're delighted by how it went.

One participant in the four-week course, Faithful Finance: An Introduction to​ Aligning Investments with Faith Values, said: 'The course has empowered me to embody the knowledge and own what we are about as a congregation.' Another added: 'The whole area is not as daunting as I had IMAGINED it to be, hence my shift in confidence.'

Many participants said they felt more confident about getting involved in discussions with investment advisors or managers as a result of the training – and this was precisely the outcome we'd hoped for and one of the main reasons why we developed the course.

Reflecting on the course, Mathew Jensen, CFA, FaithInvest's Director of FCI Programmes, said: ‘As a multi-faith offering with a focus on practical application, the course represents a novel development in the field of FCI education, and we were delighted with the enthusiasm and engagement of our first group of participants.’

Course practicalities

Conducted over four weeks, the course was designed for individuals from faith organisations seeking to invest more in line with their values.

The first module, Introducing the Purpose of Faith-consistent Investing,​ introduced participants to the foundational principles of faith-consistent investing and how it aligns with their faith values and mission.

A screenshot from the Faithful Finance course
A screenshot from the course

Next, Faith-consistent Investing: Overcoming Challenges, Finding Solutions, discussed the practical challenges and solutions in implementing FCI, including achieving organisational buy-in and engaging with intermediaries with confidence. Participants were also introduced to the essential components of FCI and an understanding of faith-aligned investment options.​

In the third module, Faith-first Practicalities, the instructors detailed the practical process of integrating faith values into investment policies, guidelines, and governance structures.​

Finally, in module four, Sustaining Faith-consistent Investing for the Long-Term​, participants explored strategies for maintaining and adjusting FCI strategies over time, ensuring ongoing alignment with faith values and responding to market changes.​

Throughout the course, there was lively engagement between the FaithInvest team and participants, and outside of the modules, participants were encouraged to reflect and discern on the significance of their values to their organisation’s investment strategies.

'I found all the inputs very enriching. There was a lot discussed that I was not able to grasped at the outset but going through the notes is a huge benefit. Thank you again for everything'  – Participant

Beliefs, teachings & values

FaithInvest Programme Manager Catherine Devitt, the training coordinator and one of its two primary instructors, said: ‘FaithInvest recognises that the beliefs, teachings and values of faiths are the foundational starting point for what can become a wide range of practical expressions of faith values into very specific kinds of investments, all of which need to be articulated in an agreed-upon investment policy and guidelines statement. The FaithInvest training is designed to provide participants with the tools they need to further this process.'

Some of the Faithful Finance participants
Some of the Faithful Finance participants

One participant said she appreciated ‘the encouragement to really study the values of our institute and how to express these through our investments'. Other commentors stressed the collaborative elements of a successful FCI journey, such as ‘the importance of networking across our religious congregation, and of involving lay staff in understanding our values’. 

Mathew Jensen described some practicalities of pursuing FCI. ‘Having a long-term vision with your faith values at the heart is key. However, pragmatic investment and product realities often require trade-offs​, such as real return for liquidity and principal protection, or ethical guidelines in the context of asset size and expenses​. Taken together, investment product options may be limited​, and values implementations may need to be adjusted’.

Discerning in what ways, and to what degree, values may need to be adjusted is the task of dedicated members of faith oganisations working together along with their product providers to achieve higher levels of faith consistent investing. ‘Our goal is to support these efforts,’ said Mathew Jensen.

Next course: May 7-28

Due to the popularity of the first instalment of this training, which had to be capped due to full enrolment, FaithInvest is offering the course again in May. ‘We encourage all those who have a role to play in their faith’s investment practices, be it as trustees, committee members, board members, finance directors, or others, to join us starting May 7 for the next cohort of Faithful Finance,’ said Catherine Devitt.

SPECIAL OFFER: FaithInvest is offering a special discount of 15% off the cost of the May Faithful Finance: An Introduction to Aligning Investments with Faith Values course – just £250 – for those registering before April 19. Visit the Training page of our website to register.


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