We had a wonderful opportunity to hear from a leader who is new to faith-consistent investing, with a faith-based asset owner, in this case a worldwide religious institution dedicated to education.
The individual's learnings on FCI may resonate with you, as they did with us, relayed here mostly verbatim:
Surprised that asset managers have such a seemingly outsized influence over how our assets are managed and what we are investing in.
Asset managers need to understand that their proxy voting is important to us. Though we may be subject to their proxy voting policy [if in a commingled fund], we still want to see it, and we still want to express our views on their policy.
Therefore, building strong relationships with our asset managers is key. We do this through:
A good, thorough investment policy and guideline document
A strong and engaged investment consultant, and/or [depending on resources] tapping experienced investors from [the faith organization] to be on our board
Scheduling periodic board engagements with the asset managers, supported by a standard list of relevant questions for all managers
Regularly reviewing the asset manager’s ethical investment policies, portfolio holdings and proxy voting activities
Related to their focus on proxy voting, they referenced the recently launched “Stewardship for Sustainability” program from PRI as being a helpful tool to focus on their manager’s proxy voting and company engagement activity, as we’ve heard from others, and will be writing on this in a future post.
Your relationship with your asset manager is a topic we plan to address in an upcoming FaithInvest online course on faith-consistent investing. Watch this space for some exciting news about a new FaithInvest educational offering in 2024!