Over the past year we, at FaithInvest, have spent time with many of our members – both directly and in various seminars and forums – to try to understand our members’ needs and priorities and align our initial focus with them. We have also focused on designing our member-only portal which will be launched early in 2021 and will directly support our projects and members.
Our initial focus in 2021 will be on three areas:
AREA 1: Directly enhancing collaboration across our members – hoping to save time and resources.
AREA 2: Creating infrastructure to allow quick and smooth investing.
AREA 3: Creating interesting investment opportunities – where possible, opportunities uniquely suited to the Faith Community.
Early in 2021 we hope to launch the first projects to support these areas. Below are preliminary and very brief descriptions of our planned projects – we would be glad to discuss any of these in more detail.
Member’s Portal: We are now in the final design and build stages of this portal. The portal is intended to allow us to:
Facilitate and administer Membership Work Groups on various topics.
Distribute information and data in a safe and targeted environment.
Allow more direct member interaction and contribution to areas of interest.
Manager Database: We will initiate a work group focused on sharing Asset Manager information. Ultimately this will create:
A database of managers and strategies known to our members with some basic information about each manager. NOTE: the data will be provided anonymously – not linking members to specific managers.
An ability to match members with specific searches or interests with other members active in the same space.
An ability for FaithInvest to create outreach efforts to managers for specific needs or concerns.
Commingled Platform: We will begin a long-term project for creating infrastructure that allows reasonably quick and cheap construction of commingled vehicles for our members. At the simplest level, we will aim to create an environment where popular strategies or managers can be accessed quickly and simply by many members. At a more complex levels, we may aim to create vehicles that allow the faithful to invest side-by-side with the faiths. This project will entail:
A working group to better define the needs and goals.
Interacting with existing commercial platforms – perhaps with support from existing members already using similar services.
The Dharma Index: we will try to leverage a pre-existing project started by one of our members to try to support the creation of a Buddhist / Sikh / Hindu oriented investment vehicle. We will use this experience to inform the infrastructure project.
Impact Investing Fund-of-Funds: Impact investing is a high-priority item for many of our members. There are many complexities that make this area particularly challenging including specialised due diligence and difficulty in building scale. There have been a few successful efforts to create fund-of-fund structures in this area – we will explore creating one specifically tuned to the Faith Community. We will use our working group format to better define how to make this proposition work – and then facilitate an exploration of what can be done to meet this priority.
Real Estate: Many of our members control “operating real estate” (as opposed to investment real estate) in the shape of houses of worship, hospitals, schools, etc. This unique to the faith community. Some of our members have began projects that lever that real estate to further community impact – often in coordination with their investment goals and plans. We will facilitate – through a sub-group of our members – the exploration of work already done in this space and the potential for future expansion and greater impact.
We continue to aim to build our community through one-on-one interaction with each member, getting to your organisation and specific needs, and are extremely excited to begin these projects and to engage with all of you. Until the physical launch of our members’ portal in early 2021 – please reach out to us with any advice.
Nana Francois, Director of Membership
Mike Even, Director of Strategy and Investment Research