Entries by Robert Netzly

Another LGBT Fund Fails While Biblically Responsible Investing Grows

This week marks the end of the InsightShares LGBT Employment Equality ETF [ticker: PRID], an investment fund that used the “Corporate Equality Index” score from LGBT activism goliath Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to target investments in companies dedicated to promoting LGBT issues. PRID is the second pro-LGBT investment fund to be shuttered this year, after the ALPS “Workplace Equality” ETF [ticker: EQLT] shutdown on April 26th.

Investors Say No To LGBT Activism

The old saying holds true: money talks. And in this case money is not just talking, it is shouting to us that investors really don’t care to support LGBT activism or invest in companies that take a proactive approach to advancing LGBT issues with their corporate influence.

Supposedly, the American public and particularly the American business and investing community is completely onboard the LGBT activism bandwagon. The media and LGBT lobbyists like Human Rights Campaign tells us so all the time, so it must be true, right? Or perhaps it is just more #fakenews.

To be fair, we must also consider whether PRID failed for reasons other than its stated pro-LGBT mission. But, an investigation into the details of PRID reveal that the performance was actually better than average, beating out SPY (the most popular US large cap S&P 500 ETF) by 1.86% from its first day of trading on January 11, 2018 through November 13, 2019 when PRID closed to new orders. And the 0.65% fund expenses for PRID, though higher than some ETFs, is also well beneath the cost associated with numerous other thematic ETFs that have been successful in raising capital.

Figure 1: PRID vs SPY performance [Source: morningstar.com]

And let’s not forget that PRID was supported and launched by a powerhouse lineup of industry players including UBS Securities, a US division of the $2 trillion Swiss financial megalith; Exchange Traded Concepts, the $2.65 billion firm serving as advisor to PRID; and $4.5 billion subadvisor Vident Investment Advisory, a subsidiary of Vident Financial.

With such enviable backing and quality net-of-fees performance it is somewhat shocking that PRID was only able to attract a paltry $2.7M in assets under management after nearly two years. The abject failure of PRID, and EQLT earlier this year, expose a serious flaw in the basic premise underpinning the efforts and message of the LGBT activism machine: The investing and consuming public are not willing to put their money into action to support LGBT activism.

Any company considering flying a rainbow flag in an effort to attract more customers should think carefully about their decision.

 

Biblically Responsible Investing Continues Growth

Meanwhile, the biblically responsible investing movement (BRI) continues to grow at an exponential rate as Bible-believing Christians have moved billions of dollars into investments that align with biblical values. The Wall Street Journal recently reported in an article titled When God Is Your Portfolio Manager that “biblically responsible investing is booming…as evangelicals and other Christians seek investment management and financial planning to match their interpretation of biblical principles.”

In the same article, John Siverling, executive director of the Christian Investment Forum “estimates that $260 billion is invested according to biblical principles. Of the approximately 90 BRI funds in the U.S., he says, nearly one-quarter were launched since 2015.”

And Rob West, president of Kingdom Advisors, the nation’s largest network of Christian financial professionals and sponsor of the Certified Kingdom Advisor (CKA) designation, reports that their membership has “more than doubled since 2014.”

My own firm, Inspire Investing, has grown from $250M in assets under management to $640M in assets just this year alone, with every dollar being managed from a biblically responsible investing standpoint as we are experiencing first-hand the massive shift underway towards biblically responsible investing.

Data from Pew Research, Economic Policy Institute and the US Census indicates that Christians control approximately two-thirds of the assets in U.S. retirement funds, an eye-popping $21 Trillion dollars. This stat suggests that the BRI movement is just starting to gather steam and that an industry-shaking movement of assets is currently underway.

Biblically Responsible Investing Screening Technology

These biblically responsible investors are using free technology like inspireinsight.com to screen their portfolios and getting rid of investments with exposure to issues like abortion, pornography and, yes, LGBT activism. Instead they are buying stock, mutual funds and ETFs that invest in companies that are aligned with biblical values.

Investors have previously been kept largely in the dark about the moral issues that companies they invest in are involved with. This problem is enhanced for investors in mutual funds and ETFs where there can literally be hundreds of individual stocks in each fund they own, and oftentimes it can be difficult for an individual investor to ascertain what companies their mutual fund owns at any given time, let alone whether or not those companies are involved in issues that violate biblical values.

But now thanks to technology like inspireinsight.com, investors can experience transparency in their portfolios like never before, and get it for free online any time of day or night with a few clicks of a mouse. Simply by entering a ticker symbol, such as VTSAX for the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund, investors concerned with pro-life issues can see that in that one fund alone there are 12 stocks involved with abortion drug manufacturing and embryonic stem cell research, 20 stocks that donate money to abortion related organizations like Planned Parenthood and 21 stocks that are involved in pushing pro-abortion legislation. (Source: inspireinsight.com as of 11/22/2019.)

Loving Our LGBT Neighbors, Not Their Lifestyle

Why is there such disparity between the ongoing success of the biblically responsible investing movement and the surprising failure of pro-LGBT investment funds?

I believe that the bottom line is that – contrary to popular media opinion – there are still lots of people in this world who believe in biblical values, love God and want to glorify Him in everything they do, including how they invest His money.

As Christians we are called to love our neighbors in the LGBT community, and we should seek to be a blessing to them as ministers of Christ’s love on earth, as I stated in my “Open Letter to the LGBT Community” during Pride Month earlier this year. And while I hope that most people want to support and love LGBT people, I believe that most people do not support or accept homosexuality as a moral or appropriate lifestyle choice and do not want to get involved in LGBT activism.

The success of biblically responsible investing and failure of pro-LGBT funds suggests this is the real picture.

What do you think?

Biblical Investing Leader Inspire Investing Launches New RIA Platform For Christian Financial Advisors

Inspire Investing attracts $130M in first 9 months with new Inspire Advisors registered investment advisory (RIA) platform dedicated to empowering Christian financial advisors to go all-in for God’s glory in their advisory practices.

San Jose, California, October 8th, 2019 – Inspire Investing announced a major development in their mission to advance the biblically responsible investing (BRI) movement with the launch of Inspire Advisors, an RIA platform created to give Christian financial advisors a place to call home that is fully supportive of their desire to align their practices with biblical values and “go all-in” for God’s glory in their profession.

Inspire quietly opened the Inspire Advisors platform in January with a soft-launch and has seen impressive growth, attracting $130M in assets under management in just the first 9 months.

“We were very strategic and deliberate with the soft-launch of Inspire Advisors,” commented Robert Netzly, CEO of Inspire. “We didn’t want a big announcement with a lot of fanfare. We wanted to be very careful in reaching out and recruiting very specific financial advisors who share our core beliefs and passion for the biblically responsible investing movement to help lay the foundation of a strong culture dedicated to glorifying God in every aspect of their financial advisory practices. These stellar advisors will serve as examples and role-models for the hundreds of advisors we plan to recruit, God willing, onto the platform in the years to come.”

Biblically Responsible Focus

The Inspire Advisors platform is purpose built from the ground up to support Christian financial advisors who want to run their practices with 100% biblically responsible investing alignment, a growing conviction among financial advisors and their clients.

“When we looked across the RIA marketplace, we saw some large Christian RIAs that did not offer BRI portfolios, and we saw some RIAs that are completely BRI, but they were only local or regional in scope. We could not find any national brand RIA platform that was dedicated to biblically responsible investing,” said Netzly. “That’s a problem that we are solving with the launch of Inspire Advisors. There has to be a nationwide, world-class, top-ten RIA firm that is sold out to the advancement of biblically responsible investing and the Christian advisors who want to run their practices for the glory of God. God willing, Inspire Advisors is that firm.”

Financial advisors that join Inspire Advisors have access to Inspire’s deep bench of biblically responsible portfolios delivered in a turn-key, separately managed account (SMA) format, including customizable unified managed account (UMA) and robust tax-loss harvesting capabilities.

“At my old firm, we all knew biblically responsible investing was important to share with our clients, but there was no commitment to do anything about it,” says Luke Andrews, one of the many Christian financial advisors who now calls Inspire Advisors home. “At Inspire Advisors, from the top to the bottom, our firm is sold out and committed to connect our clients’ values with their investments.”

There are currently several dozen SMA strategies available to Inspire Advisors recruits and their clients, with strategies ranging from passive, index based portfolios to actively managed, tactical, sector rotation and other strategies. Some strategies are built using Inspire’s popular suite of biblical ETFs, while others are built using only individual stocks, giving advisors one of the most robust, widely diversified selection of biblically responsible investing portfolios available anywhere.

Compelling Value Proposition

Inspire Advisors’ successful launch can be partly attributed to the strong value proposition that the platform offers to both financial advisors and their clients alike. Lower fees, higher payouts, powerhouse investment committee and a faith-saturated culture are among the top benefits.

In today’s environment where many RIAs and BD’s are wary and discouraging of their advisors being forward about their faith, Christian financial advisors benefit from a firm that actually encourages them to express their faith and operate their business with biblical values at the core. At secular firms, many advisors run into challenges getting faith-based marketing materials and investment products approved for use. At Inspire Advisors, that faith-based focus is nurtured and encouraged from every team member at the home office and across the field by every advisor colleague.

Keith and Jacob Chandler, the father-son advisory team at the helm of Inspire Advisors’ Palmdale, CA office say the Christ-centered culture is a big reason they joined Inspire Advisors after spending more than 25 years at Ameriprise:

“What we love about Inspire Advisors is that we can now be part of a company that truly reflects our values and mission. We love that we can be part of a team of Christian professionals whose desire is to display excellence in their work and inspire transformation for God’s glory throughout the world. We are so glad that we joined the Inspire Advisors team and are excited to see what the Lord has in store for this business. We know that going against the grain on Wall Street is not easy and we admire the leadership of Inspire and their courage in standing for their faith, their morals, and their values against the tide of injustice and evil that permeates our world. This company is determined to make a difference for the better and truly live out the command of Jesus to ‘love our neighbors as ourselves.’”

Powerhouse Investment Team

Additionally, Inspire touts a powerhouse investment team backing up their portfolios that gives financial advisors instant credibility with investors both large and small. Inspire’s investment committee is led by Chief Investment Officer, Darrell Jayroe, CFA, CFP, CKA, who has served in senior portfolio management positions for over 20 years. Inspire’s Chief Economic Advisor, Dr. Erik Davidson, DBA, CFA, previously served as the Chief Investment Officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank overseeing $200 billion in assets and a team of 400 professionals. Inspire Investment Analyst, Shane Enete, CFA, previously oversaw hundreds of billions of institutional assets at firms Meketa and Brandes Investments, and currently shares his time as Professor of Finance at Biola University and heads up Biola University’s Inspire Research Institute for BRI. Such a world-class team provides advisors and their clients with institutional-level portfolio management and expertise to invest with confidence.

Brand Power, Lead Generation, 100% Payouts

The opportunity to be associated with the Inspire brand, which is widely recognized and admired as a leader in the biblically responsible investing movement, helps advisors to establish themselves as the go-to advisor in their local community for clients seeking biblical advice for their financial life. Inspire Advisors also shares corporate-generated leads with advisors based on geographic location and has plans to build out a powerful lead-gen program to provide a steady stream of faith-based investor prospects to advisors in their local area – a benefit many prize as the “holy grail” of investment advisory business growth.

To top it all off, Inspire Advisors also provides a 100% payout on advisory fees to every advisor regardless of their production level, a strategic benefit derived from Inspire’s unique ability as an asset manager to earn revenues from portfolio management fees instead of relying on a traditional advisory fee override program.

Clients benefit from their advisor joining Inspire Advisors through lower cost access to Inspire’s celebrated investment offerings, providing them an all-in fee that is often times lower than their current fees from secular firms. And Inspire Advisors’ client service model is saturated in a Christ-centered, put-others-first approach that seeks to be a blessing in every interaction, something that every investor, Christian or otherwise, can appreciate.

“What I love about Inspire Advisors is the take care of business attitude and the ability to fully bring my practice and faith in God full-circle,” says financial advisor Joe Webb, CRFA, CLTC.

Inspire’s Rapid Growth

Registering over $600M in assets under management as of September 30th, Inspire Investing has grown to be a global leader in the faith-based, biblically responsible investing (BRI) movement. They were ranked as the 8th fastest growing firm in Financial Advisor Magazine’s (FA) 2019 “RIA Ranking” report, marking the third consecutive year that Inspire has been recognized in the RIA Ranking of fastest growing firms. A notable achievement for a firm completely dedicated to biblically responsible investing, proving the case that there is a large market for Inspire’s faith-based approach to investing and the financial advisors who deliver it to clients.

FA’s 2019 RIA Survey and Ranking report is an annual survey that ranks firms’ based on percentage growth in assets from the previous calendar year and is the premier industry ranking of independent RIA growth. Financial Advisor Magazine is a major publication targeted to financial professionals that aims to deliver essential market information and strategies to help advisors better serve their clients and grow their firms.

Inspiring Transformation Around The World

Not only does Inspire Investing seek to invest in the most inspiring companies in the world, but they also aim to be one of the most inspiring companies in the world. As such, Inspire donates 50% or more of their corporate profits to Christian ministry every year. Most recently Inspire adopted a village in the coffee farming mountains of Guatemala and is working to provide a church building, clean water, improved education, a fully functional medical clinic, and child sponsorship to completely transform the lives of the those living in that impoverished village.  Learn more at www.inspireinvesting.com/impact.

For more information on Inspire Advisors, please visit: www.inspireadvisors.com or email inspire@inspireinvesting.com.

For media inquiries or interview requests, contact: inspire@inspireinvesting.com

# # #

About Inspire Investing
Founded in 2015 and headquartered in the Silicon Valley of California, Inspire Investing seeks to create meaningful impact in the lives of people across the globe by providing index based, biblically aligned investments that support Christian ministry and is a leading authority in the Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI) movement. For more information, visit www.inspireinvesting.com.

* Disclaimer: Investment advisory services offered through CWM Advisors, LLC dba Inspire and Inspire Advisors, LLC, both being Registered Investment Advisors with the SEC. CWM Advisors, LLC and Inspire Advisors, LLC are affiliates.

Media contact:
Eric Smyth
(831)382-6572
inspire@inspireinvesting.com


 
 
 
 

 

Meet the Biggest Supporter of Planned Parenthood in the S&P 500

Intel Corporation [ticker: INTC] is the largest semiconductor chip manufacturer in the United States (second largest in the world behind #1 Samsung) and ranks number 46th in the 2018 Fortune 500 ranking of largest companies in the United States by revenue.

Intel also holds another dubious claim to fame: they make more large donations to Planned Parenthood than any other company in the S&P 500.

Intel’s Planned Parenthood Donations

According to data sourced by Inspire Insight, Intel has made 72 large donations of $1,000 or more to Planned Parenthood in recent years. These donations were made to regional Planned Parenthood affiliates all over the nation, as well as directly to the “parent” organization, Planned Parenthood Federation of America. And for the record, Intel also made one large donation to Population Connection, a population control advocacy group founded in 1968 as “Zero Population Growth“.

This begs the question. Why?

I reached out to Intel to find out exactly why they decided to financially support an organization that has been the subject of a congressional investigation for the illegal sale of aborted baby parts, been routinely in hot water for questionable medical and business practices, and whose massive abortion cartel business is a flaming touch-point of controversy across the nation and around the world.

Intel’s investor relations department response was…no comment.

Investor Responsibility

There is a growing movement of faith-based investors who are taking their ownership responsibility seriously when they consider whether it is ethically and morally responsible to invest in a company like Intel, who is using their corporate clout to support the abortion industry through donations to organizations like Planned Parenthood. This biblically responsible investing (BRI) movement has gone global and is growing at an exponential rate.

Investors are owners, and owners are responsible for the actions of their companies. Even if those owners are not actively involved in the day-to-day operations of their company, they are still responsible for what it does, how it makes money and how it spends that money. There is a direct ethical and moral connection between an owner and their company that cannot be ignored.

Biblically responsible investors have woken up to this truth and are taking advantage of modern investment toolsproducts and biblically responsible financial advisors that allow them to precision align their investments to support their values — like protecting the unborn — while working toward their financial goals at the same time.

Do You Own Intel Stock?

Some readers might feel relieved after reading this article to look at their investment account statement and see that Intel’s ticker symbol, INTC, is nowhere to be found. However, what these investors may not realize is that if they own any number of the most widely held mutual funds or ETFs in the country (such as those from Vanguard, American Funds and Fidelity), there is a good chance that they do, in fact, own shares of Intel and are partnering with their aggressive funding of Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry.

Government regulations require mutual funds to disclose their holdings on a regular basis, and a quick review of the top ten funds that own Intel stock reveals the following list:

  1. Vanguard Total Stock Market Index ($5.9B owned)
  2. Vanguard 500 Index Fund ($4.2B owned)
  3. American Funds Washington Mutual Fund ($3.4B owned)
  4. SPDR S&P 500 ETF ($2.4B owned)
  5. American Funds Fundamental Investor Fund ($2.1B owned)
  6. Vanguard Institutional Index Fund ($2.02B owned)
  7. Invesco QQQ Trust ETF ($1.94B owned)
  8. American Funds American Balanced Fund ($1.78B owned)
  9. Fidelity 500 Index Fund ($1.69B owned)
  10. iShares Core S&P 500 ETF ($1.54B owned)

(Data as of 6/30/2019. Source: morningstar.com)

Invest Pro-Life

While it can be disheartening to realize that through your IRA, 401(k), mutual funds or other investments, you might actually be partnering with Intel and other large corporations as they enthusiastically support the abortion industry, the good news is that you do not have to be a cog in the wheel of the abortion cartel. You can change the way you invest.

Thanks to new technology that empowers investors with complete transparency in the moral and ethical issues present in their investments, and a growing number of financial professionals specialized in providing biblically responsible investing services, pro-life investors have many options when it comes to aligning their investments in support of the pro-life movement and the protection of pre-born children everywhere.

It all starts with learning about what you own, then making a concerted decision to make a change — both in your portfolio and the world at large.

Will you join us?


 
 

 

Is Practical Or Biblical More Important In Your Financial Life?

Looking To The Bible

Millions of people look to the Bible for advice on financial matters. And they should. God has provided for us eternal, perfect wisdom through His infallible Word that instructs us in “all things pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3), including wise principles for managing money.

But sometimes I wonder, how many of these people are coming to the Bible just because it is practical? How many financial advisors and how many ministries provide guidance that is only utilitarian in nature, exhorting adherence to biblical truth simply for the utility of the thing?

This is not wrong by itself, and certainly scripture is vastly utilitarian. Indeed, the salvation of my soul is extremely utilitarian! However, if my only concern and motive in believing in Christ is to receive the practical benefit of the salvation of my soul and escape from hell, then it is doubtful that I have ever really been saved at all!

If all my care for the things of God subsist in the practicality of what I receive, and not in the joyful worship and adoration of the “glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6), then my so-called faith is without power to save and I am in danger of hearing those chilling words, “away from me you evil doers, I never knew you” (Matthew 7:23).

Burning With Zeal

And so it is with financial discipleship. It is the glory of God which compels the true believer to apply biblical truth to their financial life, and not simply the utilitarian benefits of a budget, appropriate use of debt, wise saving and investing.

Are we compelled to apply scripture to our finances only for what we receive? Or does our heart burn with zeal for God’s glory and joyfully seek every opportunity to honor Him, whether financially or otherwise, regardless of our personal gain?

This is the great purpose and call for every Christ-following financial advisor, every Christian ministry of money, every Christian with influence over financial decisions: To fire the believer’s heart with a vision of God’s glory in their financial life that compels them to submit to His supremacy in and over their financial matters, completely, joyfully and without reservation. We are to be teaching Christians to rejoice in and worship the Lord through their every financial decision because He is worthy, not because of the worth He can provide.

Oh, God, give us such grace!

Supreme Center

Anything short of this is missing the mark and, while the believer may benefit practically in an earthly manner, they are left spiritually bereft and without eternal significance and blessing. Without the glory of God as the supreme center of our message, we are in perilous danger of teaching our clients and congregations to store up treasure where moth and rust do destroy and thieves do break in and steal, instead of laying up treasure in heaven, leaving them only a pittance at best in their heavenly investment accounts.

Why do you look to the Bible for financial advice?


 
 

Inspire Ranked Among Top Ten Fastest Growing RIAs by Financial Advisor Magazine

RIA Survey & Ranking 2019

Biblically responsible investing firm Inspire Investing came in at number 8 fastest growing firm out of the 683 registered investment advisory (RIA) firms listed in Financial Advisor Magazine’s annual report.

Inspire Investing, a global leader in the faith-based, biblically responsible investing (BRI) movement, ranked as the 8th fastest growing firm in Financial Advisor Magazine’s (FA) annual “RIA Ranking” report. This marks the third consecutive year that Inspire has been recognized in the RIA Ranking of fastest growing firms.

FA’s 2019 RIA Survey and Ranking report is an annual survey that ranks firms’ based on percentage growth in assets from the previous calendar year and is the premier industry ranking of independent RIA growth. Financial Advisor Magazine is a major publication targeted to financial professionals that aims to deliver essential market information and strategies to help advisors better serve their clients and grow their firms.

“To be listed three years running as one of the fastest growing firms in the nation is a testament to the momentum of the biblically responsible investing movement that is exploding across the globe. God is doing a mighty work in the financial industry, and it has only just begun,” said Robert Netzly, CEO of Inspire Investing.

Inspire Grows Assets Despite Market Pullback

Inspire Investing grew assets under management (AUM) by an astounding 92.43% in the 2018 calendar year. This dramatic increase is even more admirable given that stock markets around the world ended the year with losses. The US stock market as measured by the S&P 500 lost -4.83%, while global stocks tracked by the MSCI All Country World Index lost even more with a -9.41% decline.

“2018 was a difficult year for many investors, particularly in the sharp selloff of the fourth quarter. But despite poor performance of stocks around the world, we continued to see large inflows into our biblically responsible investing products. This is another proof of the strength of the BRI movement,” commented Netzly.

Inspire has continued to attract inflows in 2019, growing a sensational 113% during the first half of the year, bringing total Inspire AUM to $537M managed in their unique, biblically responsible investing approach to faith-based, environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing as of the end of June.

Inspire’s Data Driven Approach To Biblically Responsible Investing

At the center of Inspire’s approach to biblically responsible investing is their proprietary Inspire Impact Score methodology. Inspire Impact Scores allow investors to easily identify how aligned or how opposed a company (or portfolio of companies, like a mutual fund or ETF) is to biblical values.

Using a wealth of environmental, social and governance (ESG) data from some of the most respected data providers in the world, Inspire analyzes companies from the bottom-up with a rules based, methodology driven process through the lens of a biblical values worldview.

The result of this objective, data-focused process is an Inspire Impact Score that ranges from -100 to +100, with scores closest to +100 representing greater alignment with biblical values. Inspire invests in those companies closest to +100 and never invests in companies with scores lower than zero in any of their strategies.

“We believe that companies more closely aligned with biblical values represent higher quality investment opportunities, and the number of our strategies outperforming their benchmarks seems to be supportive of that thesis,” says Netzly.

Inspire recently released a free online tool at www.inspireinsight.com that allows investors to lookup the Inspire Impact Score of more than 25,000 stocks, mutual funds and ETFs to investigate the good, bad and ugly of what their portfolio is invested in from a values perspective, quickly and easily with a simple ticker symbol search.

Inspiring Transformation Around The World

Not only does Inspire Investing seek to invest in the most inspiring companies in the world, but they also aim to be one of the most inspiring companies in the world. As such, Inspire donates 50% or more of their corporate profits to Christian ministry every year. Most recently Inspire adopted a village in the coffee farming mountains of Guatemala and is working to provide a church building, clean water, improved education, a fully functional medical clinic, and child sponsorship to completely transform the lives of the those living in that impoverished village.  Learn more at inspireinvesting.com/impact.


 
 
 

 

Inspire CEO’s Letter To The LGBT Community

Dear Neighbors in the LGBT Community,

Since Inspire Investing’s high-profile and broadly sensationalized media exposure began in 2017, there has been much contention about our exclusion of LGBT activist companies from our biblically responsible investing portfolios. In the spirit of fostering civility and understanding amidst our disagreements, I wanted to write this letter to clearly communicate our heart and position on LGBT matters.

As Christians who follow Jesus and believe the Bible is the word of God, we love our neighbors in the LGBT community as Christ taught us to do, and we actively seek the good and flourishing of all people, whether they identify as LGBT or straight, are Muslim or Christian, black or white, friends or enemies, or whoever they may be. All people are created in the image of God, are loved by God and deserve to be treated with dignity, respect and love. The Bible teaches this and we strive daily to live this out, both in our personal lives and in our investment methodology.

God’s Design Brings Highest Joy

We also believe the Bible teaches that God’s design for marriage is between one man and one woman, faithful for life, and that this pattern of sexuality offers humanity the highest and best joy in this life. As such, our calling as Christians is to treat all people with dignity, respect and love, while upholding the moral law of God for His creation, and in our view the two are not in opposition.

One way this translates into our investment methodology is that we actively seek out companies who are excelling at providing all of their employees with safe, tolerant workplace environments, above average employee benefits and generally an inspiring employer/employee relationship. For instance, in relation to this particular issue, we encourage our portfolio companies to provide high quality, equal employee benefits for LGBT employees and all other employees.

Excluding LGBT Activism

We also have an exclusion criterion which avoids investment in companies which are taking active steps to advance the issue of gay marriage, using their corporate clout and investor dollars to advance a political and social issue that is unrelated to their core business. An example of this would be a corporation which gives corporate dollars to sponsor a gay pride parade or signs on to a legal document to put pressure on local, state or national government to push LGBT marriage policies.

We acknowledge that LGBT issues are a hotbed of contention in our society today, and we understand that not everybody believes as we do and that our investment methodology may not be a fit for all people. We respect investors who desire to invest in pro-active support of LGBT marriage, and we ask for the same respect for our investors who are investing according to their faith-based convictions to invest in support of what they understand as the Bible’s teaching and advocacy for one-man, one-woman marriage.

Sticks And Stones

We also acknowledge that some are quick to apply the label of bigot or other such terminology to anyone who believes that heterosexual marriage is God’s singular design for human sexuality. We believe that is an unfair categorization, just as it is equally unfair for those claiming the name of Christian to call names and use derogatory labels for our neighbors in the LGBT community.

We hope that despite deep-rooted disagreements over the rightness or wrongness of certain expressions of sexuality, that we can all treat one another with the dignity, respect and love that we each deserve as those created in the image of the living God.

May grace and peace be yours in abundance,

Robert Netzly
CEO, Inspire Investing


 

 

Inspire Investing Climbs Above $500 Million Assets Under Management

Biblically responsible investing (BRI) firm Inspire Investing doubles assets in six months, surpasses $500 million in assets under management with growing demand and positive performance.

Inspire Investing, a leading player in the faith-based, biblically responsible investing movement, just passed another major milestone in the continued growth of their firm, breaking above half of a billion dollars in assets under management (AUM).

Positive performance and persistently growing demand for their uniquely constructed, index based, biblically responsible investment offerings have propelled Inspire’s asset levels higher with astounding velocity. Inspire began 2019 with $250M in assets. Six months later, they have doubled that number to above $500M.

“It is humbling for us to see the staggering growth of our firm because we know it is all because of God’s work in the hearts of His people,” commented Robert Netzly, CEO of Inspire, “God is the one behind the biblically responsible investing movement’s incredible momentum, and He is the one to whom all glory is due.”

Inspire’s total discretionary assets under management were $500,554,432 as of market close on June 4th.

Expanding Biblically Responsible Investing Movement

Inspire’s growth is testament to the expanding movement among Christian investors to align their investments with the biblical values they hold dear, a practice called biblically responsible investing.

BRI is a thriving subset of the larger ESG (environmental, social, governance) investing trend. For years, the ESG landscape has been dominated by investment screening that sought to align with progressive, liberal values. But now, faith-based investors are waking up to the opportunity to invest in positive, quality companies that align with their conservative, biblical values.

Many investors are shocked to discover that their IRA, 401k, mutual fund, ETF or other investment is profiting from and supporting business involved with abortion, pornography, human trafficking and other immoral issues. These investors are discovering that because of companies like Inspire, they can avoid investing in these problematic categories and instead invest in companies making a positive influence on the world, without having to sacrifice performance.

These are the investors bringing their money to Inspire Investing and driving the BRI movement.

Inspire’s Data Driven Approach To Biblically Responsible Investing

At the center of Inspire’s approach to biblically responsible investing is their proprietary Inspire Impact Score methodology. Inspire Impact Scores allow investors to easily identify how aligned or how opposed a company (or portfolio of companies, like a mutual fund or ETF) is to biblical values.

Using a wealth of environmental, social and governance (ESG) data from some of the most respected data providers in the world, Inspire analyzes companies from the bottom-up with a rules based, methodology driven process through the lens of a biblical values worldview.

The result of this objective, data-focused process is an Inspire Impact Score that ranges from -100 to +100, with scores closest to +100 representing greater alignment with biblical values. Inspire invests in those companies closest to +100 and never invests in companies with scores lower than zero in any of their strategies.

“We believe that companies more closely aligned with biblical values represent higher quality investment opportunities, and the number of our strategies outperforming their benchmarks seems to be supportive of that thesis,” says Netzly.

Inspire recently released a free online tool at inspireinsight.com that allows investors to lookup the Inspire Impact Score of more than 25,000 stocks, mutual funds and ETFs to investigate the good, bad and ugly of what their portfolio is invested in from a values perspective, quickly and easily with a simple ticker symbol search.

Inspiring Transformation Around The World

Not only does Inspire Investing seek to invest in the most inspiring companies in the world, but they also aim to be one of the most inspiring companies in the world. As such, Inspire donates 50% or more of their corporate profits to Christian ministry every year. Most recently Inspire adopted a village in the coffee farming mountains of Guatemala and is working to provide a church building, clean water, improved education, a fully functional medical clinic, and child sponsorship to completely transform the lives of the those living in that impoverished village.  Learn more at inspireinvesting.com/impact


 

LGBT fund shut down, biblical investing soars

LGBT activists are scratching their heads following the abrupt closure of a widely followed investment fund that was focused on LGBT advocacy and invested only in the stocks of companies which demonstrated outspoken support for LGBT acceptance and approval in the workplace.

The ALPS “Workplace Equality” ETF (exchange traded fund), which traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker EQLT, was launched on February 24th, 2014 and ceased trading two weeks ago on April 26th, 2019.

During its five full years of trading, EQLT enjoyed massive global exposure, high praise from major media outlets and even above average performance over most timeframes. EQLT was praised as the golden-child of a new age of progressive values among supposedly forward-thinking businesses and investors.

But EQLT was a complete failure.

EQLT Failure

After five years, massive publicity and solid performance, EQLT only managed to attract $16.7M in assets under management by the time it was liquidated last month. A statement issued by the fund’s Board of Trustees at ALPS ETF Trust explained the reasons behind EQLT’s demise:

“The decision to close the Fund was made by the ALPS ETF Trusts Board of Trustees after consultation with ALPS Advisors, Inc., the investment adviser to the Fund. On consideration of the Funds’ inability to attract significant market interest since the Funds’ inception, its future viability as well as prospects for growth of the Funds’ assets in the foreseeable future, the Board determined that it was in the best interests of the Fund and its shareholders to liquidate the Funds shares, which are listed on the NYSE ARCA. The last day of trading for the Fund is scheduled to be Friday, 26 April, 2019.”

What happened? If the media’s insistent message that the mainstream current is in support of LGBT advocacy, and that holding to the biblical definition of marriage and sexuality is, as The New York Times put it in an article on the subject, “squarely at odds with that of nearly all of corporate America”, then how is it that a fund like EQLT was a flop?

And EQLT is not the only pro-LGBT fund that is struggling. The UBS InsightShares LGBT Employment Equality ETF (ticker: PRID) was launched January 10th, 2018. PRID follows a similar investment methodology to the failed EQLT of investing in companies identified by LGBT activism powerhouse, Human Rights Coalition (HRC), as supporters of the LGBT agenda.

PRID offers an expense ratio of 0.65%, trades on the New York Stock Exchange and is managed by subadvisor Vident Investment Advisors, an affiliate of Vident Financial, which also offers their own stable of “principles based” investment funds.

More than a year later, PRID claims just a scant $2.65M in assets under management according to data sourced from Morningstar.

Biblically Responsible Investing Success

Meanwhile, support for biblically responsible investing (BRI) is skyrocketing. I recently wrote an article highlighting some examples of the explosive growth of the biblically responsible investing movement:

  • A $520M investment advisory firm making the decision to transition all of their assets into biblically responsible investing portfolios;
  • My own biblically responsible investing firm, Inspire Investing, growing from $250M in assets under management to $465M just since the start of this year;
  • The launch of two new biblically responsible investing ETFs from BRI fund company, Timothy Plan, which both have over $40M in assets in just the first week since launch;
  • Inspire Investing being nominated as a finalist for “Best Thematic ETF of the Year” award in the annual ETF.com Awards.

By the grace of God, we are seeing a massive expansion of the BRI movement across the country and around the world. Across the pond in Spain, a startup Catholic fund company named Altum Faithful has caught the European investment world’s eye and gained assets at a rapid pace. Altum has also recently released a research paper analyzing the performance of the S&P 500 compared to a biblically screened version of the S&P 500 with compelling results.

The Real Picture

Why is there such disparity between the ongoing success of the biblically responsible investing movement and the surprising failure of pro-LGBT investment funds?

I believe that the bottom line is that – contrary to popular media opinion – there are still lots of people in this world who believe in biblical values, love God and want to glorify Him in everything they do, including how they invest His money.

In fact, data from Pew Research, Economic Policy Institute and the US Census indicates that Christians control approximately two-thirds of the assets in U.S. retirement funds, a whopping $21 Trillion dollars.

As Christians we are called to love our neighbors in the LGBT community, and we should seek to be a blessing to them as ministers of Christ’s love on earth. And while I hope that most people want to support and love LGBT people, I believe that most people do not support or accept homosexuality as a moral or appropriate lifestyle choice and do not want to get involved in LGBT activism.

The success of biblically responsible investing and failure of pro-LGBT funds suggests this is the real picture.

What do you think?


 
 
 

 

Inspire Investing Welcomes Timothy Plan ETFs To Biblically Responsible Investing Market

Press Release: Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI) market expands as new Timothy Plan ETFs (exchange traded funds) join those from Inspire Investing to broaden options for Christian investors.

The Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI) movement continues its rapid expansion. Demand from Christian investors desiring to align their portfolios to support biblical values has powered asset growth among fund companies and advisory firms focused on providing biblically responsible investment solutions.

Recently, Ambassador Advisors, a $520 million advisory firm serving the Christian investor market, made headlines by converting all of their assets under management to align with biblically responsible investing best practices in recognition that investors want alignment of their investments with their deeply held values and beliefs, and that sound biblical stewardship necessitates integration of biblical values into portfolio design and management.

Additionally, Inspire Investing, a global leader in the biblically responsible investing movement, has increased assets under management from $250 million to over $400 million since the beginning of the year, and was nominated as a finalist for “Best Thematic ETF of the Year” award in the annual ETF.com Awards.

Timothy Plan ETF Launch

And now that growth in demand has prompted yet another increase, this time in the supply side of the market with the launch of new biblically responsible Timothy Plan ETFs.

Timothy Plan is a long-standing leader in the BRI marketplace and offers a fully diversified suite of mutual funds all designed to support biblical values. Now they are joining fellow Christian Investment Forum member, Inspire Investing, as providers of exchange traded funds aligned with those same biblical values.

“We whole-heartedly welcome our friends at Timothy Plan into the biblically responsible ETF market,” says Robert Netzly, CEO of Inspire Investing, “The BRI movement is spreading like wildfire around the globe, and we need more high-quality, innovative, BRI solutions introduced to effectively serve this vast market and truly transform the way every Christian invests around the world for the glory of God.”

How Big Is The Christian Investment Marketplace?

The size of the Christian investment market in the United States is estimated at over $21 trillion, according to research conducted by Inspire Investing. This marketplace includes investors identified by researchers as “Evangelical”, “Catholic” and “Mainline Protestant”, and is based on data sourced from Pew Research, Economic Policy Institute and the US Census.

Notably, this number includes only retirement assets such as 401(k) and IRA accounts, indicating the actual figure could be much higher if non-retirement investment assets were included.

Using the same data set, the total US investor marketplace of retirement assets, including faith-based and non-faith-based investors, is approximately $31.4 trillion dollars in size. Data from the Investment Company Institute’s “2018 Investment Company Fact Book” pegs total US retirement assets at $28.2 trillion at the end of calendar year 2017, adding confidence that these numbers are reliably close.

“The Wall Street establishment has no idea about the size and magnitude of the Christian investor market,” added Netzly, “Most secular firms dismiss Christian investors as an obscure, irrelevant niche population. But the reality is that Christian investors control more than two-thirds of the retirement assets in the United States, and this sleeping giant is beginning to wake up to biblically responsible investing.”