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?

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?


 
 

 

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


 

 

Biblically Responsible Investing Movement Exploding

The Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI) movement is exploding — in a good way.

Demand from Christian investors desiring to align their portfolios to support biblical values is powering asset growth among fund companies and advisory firms focused on providing biblically responsible investment solutions.

Earlier this year, 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, recognizing that investors want alignment between their investments and their deeply held values and beliefs.

As Ambassador Advisors’ Chief Investment Officer, Christopher Coolidge, CFA®, puts it, “We believe you shouldn’t have to compromise performance to live your values. There’s more to making money than just making money. Biblically responsible investing allows Christians to apply their stewardship and the belief that all money is God’s money, not only for budgeting and giving purposes, but all the way through investing and legacy planning.”

My own firm, Inspire Investing, which is entirely dedicated to investing in the most inspiring, biblically aligned companies in the world, has increased assets under management from $250 million to over $400 million since the beginning of the year. We were also nominated as a finalist for “Best Thematic ETF of the Year” award in the annual ETF.com Awards.

God is at work in the hearts and portfolios of His people, and all glory goes to Him.

Timothy Plan ETFs Expand Biblically Responsible Investing Options

And recently that growth in demand has prompted yet another increase, this time in the supply side of the market with the launch of two 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.

The new Timothy Plan ETFs are welcome additions to the growing lineup of world-class biblically responsible investment options available to Christian investors. 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 we have conducted at 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.

Sleeping Giant Awakening

The Wall Street establishment has no idea about the size and magnitude of the Christian investor market. 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 waking up to biblically responsible investing.

Can you imagine the impact we Christians can have if we all just invested our money (God’s money) in alignment with biblical values?

What if we all just stood up and said, “Hey, Wall Street! We’re not going to invest in companies that manufacture abortion drugs, sell pornography, exploit child-slave labor or conduct any other blatantly immoral business practice anymore! We actually believe in the values taught in the Bible and we care about the glory of God, and we want investments that enable us to glorify our God in everything we do!”

Could our voice actually get noticed?

Bringing Down The Wall

The Bible tells the story of Joshua and the battle of Jericho, and how the Lord commanded that after the Israelites had marched around the city seven times, “then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat…” (Joshua 6:5).

It’s time for all of God’s people to shout with a great shout and bring down Wall Street’s “wall” of greed, corruption and immorality and usher in a new culture of investing for the glory of God.

Will you join us?


 

Planned Parenthood Supporter PG&E Files Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy Burn

California’s largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday, January 29th. The filing comes as a result of $30 billion dollars in wildfire liability incurred by the company as their equipment ignited at least 17 of the 21 major wildfires that roared through California state in 2017 and 2018.

Last summer, I attended PG&E’s annual shareholder meeting to challenge the executive leadership regarding their philanthropic support of abortion giant, Planned Parenthood. I shot a video on location to recap PG&E’s response.

At the time, PG&E was under intense pressure due to the wildfires which were still burning. PG&E stock had plummeted and the company had eliminated dividend payments to shareholders (many of whom were present at the meeting and expressing their concern due to their reliance on the previously substantial dividend to cover their retirement living expenses).

Given the dire straights of the stock, the mounting liabilities from the fires and the fact that the company had stopped paying dividends to shareholders, my question to the executives was would they also stop donations to Planned Parenthood?

Their answer was, “no” they would continue to donate to Planned Parenthood (despite not being able to pay their investors).

Bad Business

I did my best to point out to the executives how ridiculous that was. Never mind the despicable nature of Planned Parenthood’s abortion business, just from a financial fiduciary standpoint of acting in the best interest of shareholders it makes no sense to pay Planned Parenthood instead of a dividend.

I wasn’t surprised by their answer, however. The staunch persistence of abortion activist executives to advance the abortion issue against all reason or business sense is astounding.

And now they are filing for bankruptcy.

Stark Example

PG&E should serve as a stark example to all investors. If a company is willing to donate shareholder dollars to activist causes like Planned Parenthood, can you really trust them to make ethical, moral or just plain reasonable business decisions? Do you really want to invest money into a company run by people who would rather give the last penny to Planned Parenthood instead of elderly retirees who depend on the dividend to buy groceries?

“How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
    and fools hate knowledge?
23 If you turn at my reproof,
behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
    I will make my words known to you.
24 Because I have called and you refused to listen,
    have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,
25 because you have ignored all my counsel
    and would have none of my reproof,
26 I also will laugh at your calamity;
    I will mock when terror strikes you,
27 when terror strikes you like a storm
    and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
    when distress and anguish come upon you.” (Proverbs 1:22-27)

As unfortunate as it may be, and although I would never wish such a catastrophe on anyone, PG&E executives might just deserve what’s coming to them as their careers go up in flames. But the investors left holding the bag deserve better than what these executives gave them.

Don’t Date Calamity

So, what about the companies that you own? Are there any “PG&E’s” of a different flavor lurking about in your portfolio waiting to file financial bankruptcy because of their ethically bankrupt decision making? You can find out for free at www.inspireinsight.com if you are curious.

PG&E’s date with calamity is just one more example of why I believe it is best to invest in inspiring, biblically aligned companies with a track record of ethical behavior.

What do you think?


 
 

 

Magnify Messiah

What has God done for you this year?

As Christmas is upon us and year winds to a close, it is proper for us to reflect on the year behind. Often our reflections lead us to major crises that we endured, or possibly narrowly avoided, and hopefully some major accomplishments and joys that we have celebrated. But do our reflections take us deeper than just the “what” and lead us to the “why” and, more importantly, the “Who” that is behind every detail both great and small of our life?

Fleeting sorrow, everlasting joy.

If you are celebrating the joy of a new birth, or a successful year in business, or a breakthrough in your personal life, do you recognize that it is God who has done these things? Moreover, that it is God who has done these things for His glory and your joy? How much greater is our joy when we remember and rejoice in our God, who has blessed us by His grace! How greater is our gratefulness when we realize that our own hands have not done these things, but God’s hands!

If you are suffering the sorrow of a lost loved one, personal or professional failures, or any number of trials and temptations that surround us in this life, do you recognize that it is also God who has allowed these trials and sorrows to come? And that it is He who has sustained you through them and drawn near to you in them as light in the darkness? How great is our joy, even in our sufferings, because of the glorious mercy and comfort of our sustaining Savior! And what confidence we find in knowing that no hardships will ever befall us but that which is allowed by our good Father, who is faithful to also deliver us through and from them!

He who is mighty has done great things!

So, as we reflect on the year past and dream of the year to come, may we magnify our Messiah as did Mary, when caught in a rapture of praise declared,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever” (Luke 1:47-55)

Grace and peace be yours in abundance this Christmas, and joy immeasurable in the year to come as you place all your hopes in our only real Hope, Christ the Lord!

Blessings,

-R


 
 

 

facebook earnings drop

Facebook’s $120 Billion Dollar Bad Day

Facebook, the Goliath social media platform, took a historic $120 billion fall on Thursday, winning the top spot for the largest one-day loss of market cap ever on record.

Interestingly, this massive 19% wipeout was heavily related to ethical missteps related to user privacy and data security practices, providing a strong reminder that ethical and moral analysis of a company is not just a feel-good activity, but can help investors identify real, tangible financial risk in an investment.

Scorching Decline And Murky Waters

The scorching decline was sparked by the company’s quarterly earnings call where Facebook’s CFO detailed decreasing user growth, shrinking profit margins and challenges related to new privacy laws in Europe which are hindering Facebook’s growth, engagement and ad revenues in the region.

Facebook’s epic evaporation of shareholder value also comes on the heels of the bombshell Cambridge Analytica scandal which put CEO Mark Zuckerberg in the hot seat before Congress and shed light on the murky waters of Facebook’s privacy and data security practices. That scandal also took a big bite out of Facebook’s share value.

Translation: robust privacy laws make it harder for Facebook to grow and earn a profit. Food for thought.

Ethics As Risk Management

Companies that stretch the boundaries of ethical business practices, or even outright cross them, may find short-term financial success. But, eventually their chickens come home to roost. Facebook — and everyone who owns Facebook stock — is finding this out the hard way.

Financial analysts would explain this by saying that corporations which externalize the cost of ethical issues (such as privacy concerns) are by definition over-monetized. Eventually those externalities manifest themselves in the company’s balance sheet, the over-monetization is corrected and shareholders pay the price.

The Bible says it this way, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” (Galations 6:7)

Jesus And Financial Advice

Sometimes biblically responsible investors are mocked by the Wall Street establishment as bleeding hearts that focus too much on “soft” or “subjective” issues, instead of the cold hard facts of financial analysis. My question is, if focusing only on financial data is supposedly the highest and best way to invest, why did so many of these investing experts just take their share of a $120 billion bath in Facebook stock? Why didn’t they see this coming? Why did they get hit by this bus while biblically responsible investors stood safely on the sidewalk?

Because of ethical concerns, such as Facebook’s data privacy issues, as well as other moral problems like Facebook’s corporate support of abortion and jaw-dropping lack of concern for fighting child pornography which runs rampant on their platform, Facebook stock has never been included in any of the portfolios we manage at Inspire.

As biblically responsible investors, we look at both the financial and moral issues related to a potential investment. Only when both areas of analysis are satisfied do we take a position in a stock. As Jesus said, “Be as wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)

As it turns out, this is not only great advice for your spiritual life, but for your financial portfolio as well.

Maybe Wall Street should start reading the Bible.


 

 

Inspire 5th in "Top 50 Fastest Growing RIAs" - FA Mag

Inspire Investing Ranked #5 in the “Top 50 Fastest Growing RIAs” by Financial Advisor Magazine

Biblically responsible investing firm Inspire Investing came in at number 5 out of the top 50 fastest growing registered investment advisory (RIA) firms in the US in Financial Advisor Magazine’s annual report.

San Jose, California, May 23, 2018 – Inspire Investing, a leading biblically responsible investing (BRI) firm, ranked number 5 in the Financial Advisor Magazine (FA) “Top 50 Fastest Growing RIAs” annual report. FA’s 2018 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.

“We are incredibly thankful to our raving fans around the globe who have helped make Inspire one of the fastest growing investment firms in the nation. Our growth is a testament to the incredible momentum in the biblically responsible investing movement and the increasing numbers of investors who are making changes in their portfolios to support biblical values. Wall Street is totally unprepared for what is coming. We are just getting warmed up,” said Robert Netzly, CEO of Inspire Investing.

Inspire’s Rapid Growth And Innovative Approach

Inspire Investing made headlines across the globe last year with their innovative approach to biblically responsible investing, giving investors access to faith-based ESG investments that are low cost, index based, and aligned with biblical values. Inspire’s assets under management rose by an impressive 134% in 2017 and is currently nearing the $250-million-dollar mark. Inspire uses their proprietary Inspire Impact Score Methodology to identify the most inspiring, biblically aligned companies in the world to include in their portfolios.

“Investors are discovering that they can invest in companies they believe in, inspiring companies that are doing things like working to cure cancer, creating clean water solutions, and blessing their employees and communities they operate in, instead of companies like those that manufacture abortion drugs, violate human rights, and exploit their communities. And they don’t have to sacrifice performance to do it,” commented Netzly.

Inspiring Transformation Around The World

Inspire Investing not only invests in inspiring, impactful companies — they also strive to be one. Inspire donates 50% or more of their corporate profits to Christian ministry every year with a goal of donating $1 billion over their first 10 years. Last year alone Inspire built a clean water well for impoverished villagers in Nepal, provided relief for Syrian refugees and Hurricane Harvey victims, sent Bibles into North Korea and shared the hope of Christ with thousands of youth in America. And this year, Inspire has begun work transforming an entire village with clean water, schooling, a medical clinic, vocational training, child sponsorship and a church building in the mountains of Guatemala. With Inspire Investing, your money can help you work towards your financial goals while also making an impact in the lives of people across the globe.

For more information on Inspire Investing, please visit: www.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 low cost, 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.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Business as a calling

Business as a Calling

CAN BUSINESS BE A CALLING?

For many years, Christians in business have aimed to do the Lord’s work when they are “off the clock” and do their boss’ work when they are “on the clock.” This separation of faith and business has led to confusion and misunderstanding among the Christian church about the role of business as it relates to one’s ministry, or as some would say, “calling” in life.

From what I can observe, much of this struggle seems to surround the topic of making and retaining profits in business. In the culture of the American Christian church, the process of creating and retaining profit seems to be associated with greed and is therefore discussed negatively. To support this thinking, many people will point to scriptures such as 1 Timothy 6:10 which talks about how “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” However, confusing the “love of money” with the desire to make a profit is a fundamental flaw in modern thinking.

This faulty position soon leads to the conclusion that God is not pleased with profits and would certainly not “call” a person into business as a means of ministry. If we take a moment to unwind this flawed reasoning and reexamine the actions, intentions, and fruit of profit, we will find that for-profit business can be, and often is, one of the most proliferate vehicles used by God to bless the earth and expand His kingdom.

THE ENTREPRENEURIAL VOCATION

Reverend Robert A. Sirico writes about this issue in an essay titled The Entrepreneurial Vocation. Sirico states that the role of business people in the Kingdom of God is a noble and crucially important vocation, especially entrepreneurship. He argues that many church leaders have skewed the concept of Biblical stewardship and have created a guilt-centered reprimand for the “greedy business person” to make amends for their greed by giving their money to the church and to missions.

Sirico points out that clergy often have basic misunderstandings about markets and profit leading to their flawed perception. He highlights that many religious leaders believe that there is a finite amount of money in the world and that if one person gets more, then someone somewhere got less. This is called a “zero-sum game.” If this were true, then the re-distribution of wealth remains the key to peace and mutual prosperity. However, the truth about capitalism is that wealth can be created and does not need to take from one person for another to profit. This is a concept that is not often taught in theological seminaries thus leading to a grave misunderstanding between business people and clergy. If this concept were made clear, then pastors would take the pulpit from an entirely new perspective about financial stewardship and avoid much of the conviction and discrimination against business people in the church today.

Instead, Sirico argues that the creation of profit is not only permissible but required of Christians in business. He cites Jesus’ parable of the talents and illustrates that God will require a return on his investment regarding the resources and abilities that He has entrusted to each of his children and that business people making a good and honest profit, in activities that uphold Biblical values, are simply providing their Maker with an excellent return on His investment. Sirico acknowledges the efforts of entrepreneurs and praises them for their creative ability to use the gifts that God has given them to be a blessing to people everywhere by creating opportunities for workers to grow in their own gifts and abilities.

RULE AND SUBDUE THE EARTH

In addition to creating wealth, entrepreneurs succeed in creating jobs for workers, new technologies and resources for the public, and innovation in medicine and science. Without the role of for-profit business, humans would fail to fulfill the command to rule and subdue the earth which was given to Adam in the Garden of Eden. I emphasize for-profit business because this activity and benefit would not be possible without the creation and retention of profit. If a company does not make and retain a profit, they will go out of business and these blessings will disappear with it. Therefore, sustaining a solid profit is a crucial component to honoring God through business and ought to be praised rather than frowned upon.

BUSINESS IS A CALLING

I believe that God does call men and women into business to do His work and be a blessing to the world just as he calls others into vocational ministry. One is not greater or more holy than the other. While there are certain businesses a Christian ought to avoid – such as producing pornography – no single role or position is more important to God’s purpose than any other. If the business person dedicates their life and career to the Lord and works “as unto the Lord” (Colossians 3:23), I believe God is honored and pleased and rejoices in the obedience of His faithful children. As Christians grasp this reality and carry this message into the church, I believe that we will see a revitalization and redemption of for-profit business for the Kingdom of God that will bring a new season of growth and blessing to the world.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Socially Responsible business of blessing

Economics of Building Businesses of Blessing

SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE INVESTING TREND

The modern trend of Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) has placed business practices of corporations in the spotlight and provided a new lens through which investors view their investment selections. As this trend grows, there seems to be an increase in public interest in the differences between companies that rank well on SRI screens versus those that rank poorly.

A common characteristic that many high-ranking companies seem to share is a benevolent “economic philosophy” that seeks to provide the greatest amount of good for the most amount of people, especially the company’s stakeholders (ie: employees, customer, investors, community). An “economic philosophy” is a system of beliefs that governs the decisions and behaviors of an organization. This is not often stated or identified by the company but is evident in the decisions and actions of the leadership and management teams and becomes a framework for operations within the business. To understand how this works, let’s evaluate two good examples: formalism and utilitarianism.

THE SOUL OF BUSINESS

Author and CEO, Tom Chappell, writes about these philosophies in his book, The Soul of a Business: Managing for Profit and the Common Good. Chappell’s company, Tom’s of Maine, is designed to be a business of blessing to their stakeholders. Key to their success is their economic philosophy which Chappell identifies as formalism. Chappell defines formalism as “the inner sense of obligation and human connection that people feel for their friends, neighbors, and family.”

Chappell compares this against the most popular economic philosophy called utilitarianism defined as “the moral view that a good course of action is calculated on the scale of what gives the greatest number of people the most pleasure of greatest happiness.”

PEOPLE AND PROFITS

The differences between these philosophies is best illustrated by how profit is obtained. A utilitarian process treats all members of an organization, including resources and supply chain, as tools to be used or discarded. If the tool is useful (as a utility) then it is employed, but if a more efficient tool (better utility) is available, the prior would be easily discarded in exchange for latter.

Chappell argues that, since people are of higher value than profit and relationships are more important than efficiency, this philosophical world view runs contrary to scripture and must be avoided in order to participate in business as a ministry and a blessing to the earth.

By contrast, formalism views all members of an organization, including resources and supply chain, as intrinsically valuable and directs courses of action based on whatever provides the greatest good (as opposed to greatest pleasure). The business decisions directed by this philosophy would look at several different “bottom lines” (not only company profit) in order to provide the greatest good as an outcome. Chappell writes that this philosophy allowed him to see his career at Tom’s of Maine as a position of influence to provide the greatest good possible for the greatest amount of people.

THE NEXT GIANTS

I would suggest that this perspective should be the aim of corporations around the world as the trend of Socially Responsible Investing continues to grow. I believe that the businesses that are more closely aligned with a formalism philosophy will be the giants of the next generation on the international stage, outlasting the companies that seek after profit at all costs. As the bar for ethical conduct is pushed up through investor demand, companies who have designed a culture of benevolent economic philosophy will be better suited to withstand scrutiny through the SRI lens and likely receive more investor preference in the marketplace over time.