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The FCI Interest Group quarterly forum recap

At the FCI Interest Group Quarterly Forum on June 6, we were very fortunate to have two speakers who brought practical insights on Faith-consistent investing (FCI) from their respective faith organisations; the Society of the Holy Child Jesus and the Unitarian Universalist Association. FaithInvest's Catherine Devitt conducted live online interviews with both guests.

First, David Marett, Finance Director​ with the SHCJ, spoke to 'beginning or advancing' FCI. SHCJ had long pursued a variety of faith-informed investment practices, but wanted to better articulate and advance these practices in a more concerted way and in closer alignment with their values. To do so, they engaged with FaithInvest, as described in our recent Case Study.

David described the impetus for initiating their Investment Policy and Guidelines (IP&G) review as the result of a confluence of factors, including: a recognition of the need for clearer communications with their asset managers to get the results they sought; to better articulate the faith-consistent mandates to be pursued; and to more fully discern and memorialise various FCI objectives in their IP&G.

David spoke about the value of FaithInvest's analysis of their IP&G as a helpful tool for identifying areas they wanted to improve, and on the importance of having an 'internal champion' for the process.

Our next guest was Tim Brennan, former Chief Financial Officer with the Unitarian Universalist Association, who shared his thoughts on 'embedding and extending' FCI within a faith organisation.

The UUA has a long history of pursuing various forms of FCI, ever since the 1960s, with the first-ever socially-oriented shareholder resolution (delivered to Kodak), followed by FCI-related resolutions in its General Assembly. More recently, the UUA worked with FaithInvest for support in combining its investment and socially responsible investing (SRI) committees to better integrate its FCI efforts.

Tim reviewed what he described as five essential elements for long-term successful implementation of FCI:

  1. A robust overall governance structure, with well-defined roles for the constituent parts such as the annual General Assembly, Board of Trustees, etc.

  2. Committee expertise – for example, knowledgeable and effective representation on the investment and ethics/SRI committees.

  3. An investment policy that integrates faith-values.

  4. A consultant that supports what your organisation is trying to accomplish.

  5. Networks of like-minded investors to collaborate with.

On this last point, Tim continued: 'The effort of implementing FCI can be "lonely" for any individual faith organisation, especially smaller ones; it's complex and challenging work, but you can take heart by being in it with others'.

We agree completely!

A huge thank you to David and Tim for sharing their insights with us.

Our next forum is on September 5 at 15.00 BST. You can register below.


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