We are absolutely delighted with the success of our Inaugural Member Conference on June 8 and 9 this week.
This was the first time that FaithInvest members were able to come together to discuss the challenges and opportunities around aligning investments and values – and there was a real buzz and energy in the discussions, despite the fact that the event had to take place online due to Covid restrictions.
The two-day event was entitled Pragmatic Faith-Consistent Investing: A working conference for faith-based asset owners. Of 104 people who registered to attend, 96 joined online and participants were spread across the globe – from the US, UK, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.
'An absolutely briliant day'
Initial early feedback rated the event as 'very good' and meeting expectations 'extremely well'. Some of the comments included: 'Well done today – an absolutely brilliant day'; 'I was excited to join discussions between faith-based asset owners working together to make a positive impact with their financial resources'; and 'I think you are on the right track to becoming an authority in this field'.
FaithInvest Founding President and Interim CEO Martin Palmer said:
'In the last couple of days, a hope envisioned in 2017 has come to life. FaithInvest is now up and running as a true membership network and a hub for those wishing to explore the interface between faith and investment.'
He added: 'We were delighted to be joined by so many different faiths and by such a range of experts from the fields of impact investing. We look forward to the next stages of this exciting journey.'
Excellent speakers and fascinating topics
We had excellent speakers from many fields, and topics ranged from 'Pursuing an investment programme aligned with faith beliefs' and 'Sustainable banking' to 'Impact fund discovery and diligence' and 'Solving in collaboration: programmes, pipelines, measurement and advocacy'.
We held a series of working group sessions focused on topics such as 'Time, resource and scale efficient solutions for smaller investors', 'Converting religious plans into actual portfolios', 'Setting up your impact programme', and more, which drew enthusiastic engagement. These will form the framework that we will explore in greater detail in coming months.
We also showcased our new Member Portal – which goes live in the next two weeks – and our Manager Database, aimed at sharing experience and expertise among members.
Practical investment insights
FaithInvest's Director of Membership Nana Francois said: 'It was a wonderful couple of days with old friends and new faces in the faith-based, asset-owner community, gathering together to pragmatically move faith-consistent investing forward.
'We gained practical investment insights from many groups and faiths, saw enthusiasm for topics like sustainable banking, and Dharma investing/commingled solutions, and Impact Investing.
'We've come away with a long "to-do” list as a result of this enthusiastic engagement – but it is exciting work and we are energised by the interactions and the potential we have in this network. We look forward to interactions on the Member Portal and in person – and to gathering again, hopefully face-to-face, later in the year.'