Go ye into all the world - Mark 16:15

Go Ye Into All The World

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

Mark 16:15

I once heard an interesting observation that many people who live in rural areas can be very afraid of the perceived dangers of a big city…crime, traffic, strangers, etc. And as a corollary to that, many city dwellers can be exceedingly fearful of the risks to be found out in the country…wild animals, getting stranded, isolation, etc. This idiosyncrasy of human behavior is known as “familiarity bias” in that the risks with which we are most familiar appear less threatening to us while those risks with which we are less accustomed can be quite terrifying.

In investments, one of the most well-researched examples of this familiarity heuristic is what is referred to as “home country bias”. Home country bias is the condition by which investors show an excessive preference for investments emanating from their home market over those opportunities found in other parts of the world. With this behavioral predisposition, domestic risks generally seem relatively tame because they are more familiar when compared to those perils coming from overseas which are less well understood. While instinctual, home country bias could cause suboptimal decision-making by investors with possibly detrimental effects on their long-term investment results.

These days in particular, the flames of investors’ home country bias are reasonably being fanned by a litany of worries that are coming from outside our borders…China trade disputes, Brexit, Hong Kong protests, slowing Chinese economy, stagnating European economy, declining Japanese population, Middle East tensions, terrorist threats, etc. Add to that the recent outperformance of the US stock market versus the rest of the world and it is quite understandable that US investors are currently beset by home country bias. However, because of this familiarity bias, investors may be making the behavioral mistake of focusing on the risks of investing internationally while overlooking the opportunities that can be found abroad. Consider the following:

  • 96% of the world’s population is outside the United States.
  • Amidst concerns for the greying US population with a median age of 38.2, the median age for the other 7.2 billion people on our planet is much younger at 29.8.
  • While the US population growth is only 0.8% per year, the population outside the US is growing at 1.1%.
  • 85% of the world’s economic production (Gross Domestic Product) comes from outside the United States.
  • The US may have the world’s largest capital markets, but nevertheless 70% of the world’s securities (stocks and bonds) market value is found outside the United States.
  • The US economy (real GDP) is likely to growing around 2.3% this year, but the overall global economy outside the US will grow about 3.5%
  • The US stock market is near its all-time highs, however International Developed as well as Emerging Market stock market indices are both still 20% below their 2007 all-time highs.
  • While there is growing concern that US stock market valuations (Price/Earnings, Price/Book, etc.) may be getting a little lofty, valuations of International Developed and Emerging Market stock market indices trade at least a 25% discount to their US peers. Relative interest rate differentials make these even more attractive.

Sources: CIA World Factbook, Standard & Poor’s, MSCI, and Factset

While we do not know for sure, it is possible that the Disciples were also wrestling with their own home country bias as they pondered what to do next with their lives as their physical time with Jesus came to an end. Could that be why Jesus had to remind them several times about the importance of venturing into foreign lands? Once, with the Great Commission (Matthew 28, Mark 16, and Luke 24) and again just prior to ascension (Acts 1), we see Jesus’ instruction to go outside of their homeland. Even more so in today’s global society, the Bible’s instruction to go out into the world still applies. And as scary as it can be at times, the admonition probably applies even to investing!

Therefore, getting practical, as a general rule, it makes prudent investment sense to allocate between 25% – 50% of one’s equity exposure to International Developed and Emerging Market stocks. For example, if an investor’s overall portfolio allocation to equities is 60%, then 25% – 50% of that 60% should be allocated to international and emerging market stocks, i.e. 15% – 30% of the entire portfolio.

Go ye therefore into all the world!


 
 
 

 

Dr. Erik Davidson, DBA, CFA

Dr. Erik Davidson, DBA, CFA

Erik Davidson, DBA, CFA, is the Chief Economic Advisor for Inspire Investing. Previously, Dr. Davidson served as Chief Investment Officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank, overseeing more than $200B in assets. Davidson holds a doctorate degree from the DePaul University Graduate School of Business with a dissertation in the area of Behavioral Finance.

LinkedIn

*Advisory Services are offered through CWM Advisors, LLC dba Inspire, a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC. All expressions of opinion are subject to change. This article is distributed for educational purposes, and it is not to be construed as an offer, solicitation, recommendation, or endorsement of any particular security, products, or services. Investors should talk to their financial advisor prior to making any investment decision.

Blessed are the Risk Takers

“He who watches the wind will fail to sow, and he who observes the clouds will fail to reap.”

Ecclesiastes 11:4

As human beings, our capacity to worry is quite exceptional. In a worldly sense, this predilection towards fear is very understandable as bad things do happen in our lives and in the world around us. In fact, at times our worry has likely kept us from danger or harm. Personally, I know that even as the years have gone by, I have found it very difficult to break the grip of fear in my own life. If anything, I can take some small comfort in the fact that the nature of my worries has changed as time has gone by. These days, I find myself still worrying, but about different things than I did in my earlier years. That probably does not count as progress though!

Given our very human predisposition to worry, it should be no surprise that fears are especially heightened when it comes to investing. In fact, the foundational theory in the area of behavioral economics, Prospect Theory, by Noble laureate Daniel Kahneman (author of Thinking Fast and Slow) and Amos Tversky showed that humans are so overcome by fear that we instinctively weigh loss and gain prospects unevenly thereby causing suboptimal decision-making. Especially in the wake of the trauma of the Financial Crisis of 2007 – 2009, investors are predisposed to see danger lurking around every corner. These days, the list of fears that investors face is quite long: trade disputes with China, Brexit, domestic political divisiveness, Hong Kong protests, inverted yield curves, recessionary concerns, etc.

Nevertheless, despite the enticing self-preservation benefits of fear, the Bible is filled with admonitions against it (Isaiah 41:10, Luke 12:22, etc.) because of the obstructive effect it can have on our God-given destinies. Many times in the Bible, the challenge is put forward to “fear not”. Both the Old and the New Testaments have numerous stories of ordinary people overcoming their fears and taking significant risks with extraordinary, even miraculous results (think Moses, Esther, the Disciples, et al.).

In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25), it is illuminating to read of the master’s praise, “well done, good and faithful servant”, for the two employees who took risks with the funds that had been entrusted to them. Yet, maybe even more instructive is the scorn directed at the servant who was afraid and went and hid the entrusted funds in the ground . . . “You wicked and slothful servant.” and “cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness”. If this isn’t a call to guard our hearts against acting out of fear, I don’t know what is!

Carrying over this Biblical call of risk-taking to investing, it is important for investors to be on guard against getting wrapped around the wheel of whatever the “worry of the day” may be. Rather, investors should undertake prudent risks aligned with the timeframe of their financial objective. Certainly, for short-term (less than five years) financial objectives such as planned major purchases or expenditures, risk-taking should be minimized. Actually, these sort of short-term financial goals are better viewed as “savings” rather than “investment” strategies. However, for those financial goals that are long-term (more than five years) such as young children’s college funds, retirement, a vacation home, estate plans, charitable bequests, etc. a spirit of prudent risk-taking is necessary in order to grow the funds while outpacing inflation and taxes.

The history of the stock market shows the wisdom of the Bible’s guidance on fear and risk-taking. Going back to its inception in 1927, the S&P 500, the benchmark U.S. stock market index, despite dramatic corrections and crashes, has had a total return of approximately 10% annualized. During this very long time period, despite prior generations’ “worry list” including wars, rise/fall of Communism, recessions, famines, assassinations, political discord, etc. there has never been a 14-year holding period in which the total return of the S&P 500 has been negative. Prudent risk-taking pays off over the long-term. Source: Standard & Poor’s

Obviously, “blessed are the risk-takers” is not actually one of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5). Nevertheless, investors who believe that the Bible has wisdom applicable to contemporary life are well advised to consider its guidance as it relates to fear and risk-taking as they make investment decisions.


 
 
 

 

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 Launches First Ever Biblically Responsible Index in Canada

Inspire Launches First Ever Biblically Responsible Index in Canada

Inspire Investing and Virtuous Investing are proud to bring the first ever biblically responsible index to Canada. The Inspire Canada ESG Index is a faith-based ESG (environmental, social and governance) index comprised of biblically aligned large cap companies domiciled in Canada, as measured by Inspire’s revolutionary Inspire Impact Score methodology.

The responsible investing (RI) movement in Canada is continuing to experience rapid growth according to the 2018 Canadian Responsible Investment Trends Report. RI AUM (assets under management) has surpassed $2 trillion, accounting for 50.6% of Canada’s investment industry, and has grown 41.6% over a two-year period. According to the Pew Research Center and Statistics Canada, there are over 20 million Christians in Canada that currently have no way to invest with biblical values.

Here is what Inspire CEO, Robert Netzly, had to say about the new index launch,

“The launch of the Inspire Canada ESG Index is a testament to the momentum of the biblically responsible investing movement that is exploding across the globe. Christian investors in Canada are asking for solutions to align their portfolios with the biblical values they care about. Now Canadian investors have an index they can reference to construct God honoring portfolios that also work toward their financial goals. God is at work in the financial industry, and He is just getting started!”

Inspire Investing is excited to partner with Brian Hilt of Virtuous Investing to lead the charge of the biblically responsible investing (BRI) movement in Canada.

Here is what Brian Hilt had to say,

“I am excited and grateful for the launch of the Inspire Canada ESG Index and count it a blessing to be at the forefront of the BRI movement in Canada. As a licensee of Inspire’s research methodology, Virtuous Investing is currently one of the only Canadian portfolio managers fully dedicated to BRI portfolio management. This is just the beginning, and we look forward to working with the team at Inspire to provide BRI portfolio management to Christians throughout Canada for years to come.”

About Inspire Canada ESG Index

Inspire Canada ESG Index is a faith-based ESG (environmental, social and governance) index comprised of inspiring, biblically aligned large companies in Canada, as measured by the revolutionary Inspire Impact Score methodology, which measures a company’s positive impact on the world. The index is market cap weighted and reconstituted annually, requiring constituents to have a minimum $20B market cap or higher and be domiciled in Canada. The index is calculated on a total return basis in Canadian dollars and meets biblically responsible investing (BRI) standards.

For more information on the Inspire Canada ESG Index and other Inspire Indexes, visit www.inspireinvesting.com/indexes/.

Rapid Growth

Inspire’s commitment to supporting biblical values such as pro-life, traditional marriage and ending human trafficking with their investment offerings seems to resonate with investors across the globe, now most recently in Canada.

Inspire growth has gained them recognition as the #8 fastest growing registered investment advisor (RIA) firm in the nation in 2018, according to Financial Advisor Magazine’s “Top 50 Fastest Growing RIAs” annual report.

Inspire’s Discretionary Assets Under Management (AUM) has grown 144% so far this year, bringing total assets to $613M as of September 2019.

About Inspire Investing

Inspire Investing is a leading biblically responsible investing firm that specializes in index based, biblically responsible solutions. All solutions utilize the innovative Inspire Impact Score methodology, which measures a company’s positive impact on the world to identify companies that align with the values of faith-based investors.

Inspire also donates 50% or more of their own corporate profits generated from management fees to support impactful ministry projects around the globe. 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.

Visit www.inspireinvesting.com/impact to learn more about Inspire’s biblically responsible investment products and inspiring impact projects.

You cannot invest directly in an index.

Virtuous Investing is a trade name of Huxton Black Ltd., which is registered as a Portfolio Manager and Exempt Market Dealer with the Ontario Securities Commission. Inspire Investing and Virtuous Investing are not affiliated.


 
 
 

 

Dr. Eric Davidson, DBA, CFA Headshot

Former Wells Fargo CIO, Dr. Erik Davidson, Joins Inspire Investing To Advance Biblically Responsible Investing Movement

The former Chief Investment Officer of Wells Fargo’s Private Bank, Dr. Erik Davidson, is bringing his 20+ years of experience to the biblically responsible investing (BRI) movement. Dr. Davidson is joining Inspire Investing as Chief Economic Advisor and will be working closely with Inspire’s investment committee to provide valuable insight on global, macro-economic events and trends from a biblical perspective.

Dr. Davdison’s particular expertise in the area of behavioral finance will enable Inspire to produce discerning research and data on the intersection of faith, investing and investor behavior and further solidifies Inspire’s position as a leader in the biblically responsible investing movement. Dr. Davidson is scheduled to produce several articles and papers each quarter and will participate in creating economic commentary for investment professionals on Inspire’s quarterly CIO newsletters and portfolio manager calls.

Here is what Erik Davidson had to say about joining Inspire, “I am honored to be an advisor to Inspire Investing and the meaningful work that they are doing for the biblically responsible investment movement. In my role as Chief Economic Advisor I hope to show advisors and investors that aligning investment strategies with their social and spiritual goals, not just their financial goals, can help promote more prudent investor behavior. Therefore, by doing good, investors can do well. I am excited for what God has in store for this next chapter of my career.”

Experience

At Wells Fargo, Dr. Davidson oversaw more than $200 billion in assets for the Private Bank and has co-authored multiple books including “Investing in Separate Accounts” and “The E-Finance Report.” He has authored numerous investment-related articles, speaks at investment-industry conferences, and is regularly featured in the media including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CNBC, Fox Business News, Reuters, and Bloomberg.

Most recently, Dr. Davidson received his doctoral degree from the DePaul University Graduate School of Business with a dissertation in the area of Behavioral Finance.

Leaders in the Biblically Responsible Investing Movement

Inspire CEO, Robert Netzly, had this to say, “Dr. Erik Davidson is an amazing addition to the Inspire team and we are honored to welcome him aboard! Erik’s incredible experience leading one of the nation’s largest investment firms, combined with his heart to honor the Lord with his professional life, make his partnership a huge win for Inspire and the advancement of the biblically responsible investing movement.”

Inspire is a member of the CIF (Christian Investment Forum) which is a Kingdom-focused investment association committed to educating advisors and investors on biblically responsible investing.

Here is what CIF President, John Siverling, said about what this means for the BRI movement, “CIF applauds Dr. Davidson’s decision to join Inspire as Chief Economic Advisor.  His experienced voice will be one more that can credibly speak about the purpose of business, and the economics in investing that align with biblical values, human flourishing, and value creation for stakeholders and shareholders alike.  We look forward to sharing Dr. Davidson’s thoughts with our Christian advisor and investor audience.”

Rapid Growth

Inspire’s commitment to supporting biblical values such as pro-life, traditional marriage and ending human trafficking with their investment offerings seems to resonate with investors across the globe.

Inspire growth has gained them recognition as the #8 fastest growing registered investment advisor (RIA) firm in the nation in 2018, according to Financial Advisor Magazine’s “Top 50 Fastest Growing RIAs” annual report.

Inspire’s Discretionary Assets Under Management (AUM) has grown another 129% so far this year, bringing total assets to $572M as of August 2019.

About Inspire Investing

Inspire Investing is a leading biblically responsible investing firm that specializes in index based, biblically responsible solutions. All solutions utilize the innovative Inspire Impact Score methodology, which measures a company’s positive impact on the world to identify companies that align with the values of faith-based investors.

Inspire also donates 50% or more of their own corporate profits generated from management fees to support impactful ministry projects around the globe. 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.

Visit www.inspireinvesting.com/impact to learn more about Inspire’s biblically responsible investment products and inspiring impact projects.


 
 
 
 

 

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?


 
 
Christian Investment Forum (CIF)

Inspire Investing Joins the Christian Investment Forum

Inspire Investing is proud to become the newest member of the Christian Investment Forum (CIF), a Kingdom-focused investment association committed to advancing and promoting the biblically responsible investing (BRI) movement. The CIF has been researching BRI for over 7 years and is quickly becoming one of the go-to resources on the topic.

Inspire Investing is a global thought leader in the biblically responsible investing space, providing investors and advisors access to faith-based ESG investments that are index based and align with biblical values. Inspire identifies some of the most inspiring, biblically aligned companies through their innovative Inspire Impact Score methodology, which is a rules based, data driven approach to measure a company’s positive impact on the world.

Here is what Inspire CEO, Robert Netzly, had to say about becoming a member, “Education is the key to advancing the BRI movement. That is why we are happy to be partnering with the CIF to educate and equip both investors and advisors with the necessary tools to successfully implement BRI and align their investments with their values.”

John Siverling, President of the CIF, had this to say, “The Christian Investment Forum is excited to add Inspire Investing as a member.  CIF is committed to increasing the awareness and use of faith driven investing and embracing the different styles and approaches our members take to bring their Christian faith actively into how they professionally manage money.  With the addition of Inspire investments to the roster of award-winning mutual funds and investment products from CIF members, investors have a growing list of investment options that align with their faith.”

The CIF Leadership Summit

The CIF hosts an annual gathering to help sharpen the skills of like-minded investors and advisors on biblically responsible investing. There are a variety of sessions to equip attendees with the latest information and trends on BRI, implementation techniques, as well as the ability to engage with peers and experts in the industry. This year’s summit is hosted again in Asheville, North Carolina at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove on August 14th to the 16th.

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 biblically aligned investments that support Christian ministry and is a leading authority in the Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI) movement.

Inspire also donates 50% or more of their own corporate profits generated from management fees to support impactful ministry projects around the globe. 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. View more on this project here: www.inspireinvesting.com/village-transformation/.


 

 

 

FA Mag RIA Survey & Ranking 2019

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