FaithInvest's Director of Investment Solutions, Nana Francois, reviews our key priorities in 2021 and looks ahead to the coming year
Since we launched FaithInvest in 2019 – just in time for the unfolding COVID pandemic – we have focused on how we can best help our faith-based asset owners align more of their portfolios with their values.
We talked with many of you to understand the key challenges in your various efforts:
Governance and direction, strengthening linkages between faith leadership and investment leadership
Resourcing limitations and the need for time- and scale-efficient solutions if teams are to take on the additional complexity and responsibilities of faith-based investing
Fragmentation of investment pools, requiring pooled solutions to solve for whole portfolio needs and
Impact Investing – of great interest but with challenges in establishing mandates and accessing and diligencing supply
Addressing the challenges
We started to address those challenges this year through key working groups, with Faith-Consistent Investing as a bridge between faith leaders and their investment professionals, translating faith beliefs into investment guidelines, and Sustainable Banking as a continuation of setting governance and direction towards that faith-consistent alignment.
On Faith-Consistent Investing, the New Psalmist Baptists, Quakers, the Hazon community and our own chairman Dave Zellner of Wespath kicked off our first working group sessions, and have developed faith-consistent tools which will help groups assess where they are and identify the next possible steps along their own journey to faith consistency.
On Sustainable Banking we heard a call to action for customer advocacy as investors – looking at the suppliers of their services and looking at these banks as potential investment opportunities, and again kicked of a working group focused on this topic, sharing papers and thinking which resonated with both the faith communities (through The Tablet) and the Impact communities (as represented in Impact Alpha).
We also started to address the resource limitation and fragmentation challenges, and the need for appropriate pooled solutions through building a database of shared knowledge of managers and strategies on our Member Portal.
And on Impact, we showcased practitioner stories and resources, exploring Impact Investing frameworks, and measurement principles and programmes with the Church of England, Impact Management Project and the Cabrini Sisters, and Michael Lustig of the Jewish Funders Network. And we also kicked off a working group on the subject.
We were at COP26 representing the two newest invitees to climate solution-building – faiths and finance – taking steps towards making large-scale, lower-risk Impact investment a viable, market-returns opportunities for the faiths, with the partnership of the faiths.
Priorities for 2022
Looking forward to 2022 we are focused on three priorities:
Developing shared knowledge and expertise to help faith groups establish and act on mandates to engage in faith-consistent investing, through both:
Information (in our Manager and Strategies Database) and
Tools (understanding faith-consistent investing against 15 metrics of alignment).
Grassroots investment – from the faiths for the faiths, in a multi-faith context, which will accelerate over the coming years as more sustainable and potentially investable opportunities come through our Faith Plans programme, alongside key commitments from those faiths institutions to mobilise their own assets and capital to invest in these projects.
Bringing together large-scale players who want to create vehicles which mobilise billions across faith – starting with the World Bank's Climate Investment Funds
We have had great support and encouragement working with you all in 2021 and look forward to supporting you in your faith-consistent investing journeys in 2022!
Nana, Mathew and Mike, the Investment Solutions Team at FaithInvest
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