Building a Portfolio that Reflects Your Values
Is it possible to own an investment without compromising your beliefs and values?
Investing according to issues that are important to you is sometimes called values-based or impact investing. Many shareholders are interested in investing in companies that are making a positive impact on society or want to avoid investing in businesses that support or participate in activities that are contrary to their values. Some Christians, in particular, are concerned with hot-button issues and industries such as reproductive rights, animal testing, gambling, alcohol, tobacco, and pornography.
When Christian investors wrestle with how to reconcile their beliefs with where they invest their money, there are generally two approaches:
- Refuse to invest in companies whose values do not align with theirs, or
- Continue investing in those companies with the intention of using any gains for the greater good and potentially having a positive influence on those businesses.
We recently hosted a podcast episode in which Ronald Blue Trust CEO and CIO, Nick Stonestreet spoke with economist, author, and media contributor Jerry Bowyer to discuss some of the trends we are seeing in America’s corporate boardrooms and why these are occurring.
While some Christians have “invested their consciences” for decades, they are often surprised to learn that the companies they’ve invested in have social agendas that they don’t agree with, or they are aware of these agendas but feel helpless to influence corporate policies. Fortunately, new technology and approaches are changing how investors can engage with and influence companies to help bridge the gap between faith and finances.
Options for Implementing Values-Based Investing
Years ago, Ronald Blue Trust began to think carefully about providing a platform that would allow investors to invest with a clear conscience while protecting them from having their voices and proxy votes harvested for social agendas that are contrary to their values. From that process, Access Portfolios were born. These Separately Managed Accounts (SMAs) allow clients to build a portfolio that reflects their belief system and conscience, while helping control taxable gains and optimizing stewardship goals. Access Portfolios empower shareholders to bring about change through proxy voting, corporate engagement, and values-based screening.
By owning shares in a company, investors have a right to express their voice in the boardroom through proxy voting on shareholder resolutions. Investors can vote their proxies on their own or delegate the process to Ronald Blue Trust’s sub-adviser who follows a principles-based proxy voting policy on their behalf.
Ronald Blue Trust’s platform also gives investors the opportunity to understand and influence corporate positions on issues through corporate engagement. Together with our sub-adviser, we continually work on engagement campaigns, and Access Portfolio investors can pledge their shares or names in support of these campaigns. In addition, clients can utilize our selected partners to represent them through activities such as attending board meetings, submitting shareholder resolutions, or interacting with investor relations groups.
Upon learning that they have these options for engagement, many clients have expressed gratitude that we have given their voice back to them and that they’re able to have an impact through meaningful activities. If you’re interested in more information about these options, please contact your Ronald Blue Trust advisor or learn more at accessportfolios.ronblue.com.
 Vident Investment Advisory, LLC serves as the sub-adviser for the Ronald Blue Trust Access Portfolios. A sub-advisory fee is charged by and paid to Vident Investment Advisory, LLC as the sub-adviser to the Access Portfolios in addition to the investment management fee charged by Ronald Blue Trust. Contact your advisor to request a copy of Vident Investment Advisory LLC’s principles-based proxy voting whitepaper or ADV for more information.
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