Fr. Séamus P. Finn on the Evolution of Catholic Investing
February 9th, 2017
Fr. Séamus P. Finn, OMI, spoke to participants at the Catholic Community Foundation of Minnesota, February 8,th 2017
The three core elements for Catholic Investment that were presented by the US Catholic bishops in 1986 and reinforced by the investment guidelines that were adopted for the management of the financial assets of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops were;
1) Do not invest in companies, products or services that counter to Catholic moral teaching.
2) Exercise responsible active ownership of shares that the USCCB has in the portfolio through a process of engagement with the directors and managers of these institutions.
3) Proactively investing in funds and projects that are designed to promote the common good and sustainable development that in some cases offer a lower rate of return.
The good news is that much has been achieved in the first of these categories, also known as negative screens, when excluding investments in specific companies and or industries. Now the work of applying these same screens across all assets classes in a portfolio needs to be accelerated.
Secondly, little has been done to take up the work of active engagement and this responsibility for active advocacy and dialogue is more important now than ever given the growing influence of corporations and large investment funds on nearly every aspect of life. Some catholic religious orders and institutions have done the bulk of this work through organizations like the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, www.iccr.org.