Biblically Responsible Investing FAQ
Biblically responsible investing is taking 1 Cor 10:31 at face value: “Whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.”
Inspires approach to BRI is to threefold:
1) Endorse companies making a positive impact on the world;
2) Engage with companies to create positive Biblical change; and
3) Exclude companies involved in immoral issues.
Do I need to sacrifice performance to invest in clean companies?
No, you do not. Good values and good returns are not mutually exclusive. While no strategy can ever guarantee positive investment returns, research from Biola University, Oxford University, Wharton and others suggest that investment performance has benefited from values-based investment practices, such as BRI. We discuss this topic more here on our blog post Performance Study on Inspire’s Biblically Responsible Investing Strategy
That said, the book of Proverbs teaches, “Better is a little with righteousness than greater revenues with injustice” (Prov 16:8 ESV). So, as Christians, if we had to choose between higher returns with immoral investments, or lower returns with God-glorifying investments we should, without hesitation, joyfully choose the option that glorifies God no matter what the returns.
Does investing biblically mean I have to pay high fees?
It used to, but not anymore. You’re welcome. ?
What types of screens do you use?
At Inspire our unique approach to screening which we call Inspire Impact Score Methodology includes both positive screens and exclusionary screens. We have a short video and blog post that discusses this in more detail.
Are there enough companies that pass biblical screens to build a diversified portfolio?
Yes, there are. In fact, we maintain Inspire Impact Scores on more than 4,500 companies globally of which 88% pass all biblical screening criteria, with failing scores mostly concentrated among the largest mega-cap companies.
If you look hard enough, isn’t every company dirty?
No. While every company is run by people, and every person has their problems, it does not mean that every company is involved in corporate-sponsored immoral activity. In fact, we maintain impact scores on more than 4,500 companies globally of which 88% pass all biblical screening criteria, with failing scores mostly concentrated among only the largest mega-cap companies.
How is the Inspire Impact Score Calculated?
The Inspire Impact Score Methodology begins by filtering companies through exclusionary screens and assigns negative points where violations are found. If there are violations found, then negative points are assigned based upon the scope of violations. If there no violations found, then positive screens are applied and positive points assigned. The result is that any company with a score above zero is considered investible from Inspire’s biblically responsible viewpoint, while any company with a score below zero is excluded from Inspire portfolios.
Does the Give50 campaign mean you give away my profits?
No. We only donate funds from our own corporate revenues. All investment funds have management fees, whether low or high, that investors have to pay. What makes Inspire unique is that we donate 50 percent or more of the profit we make from these management fees to Christian ministries.
Is buying a stock really supporting a company?
Yes, when you buy a stock you are providing upward support for the stock price of that company. And more importantly, you have now become an owner of that company and are profiting from and supporting all of its corporate activities.
Some argue that if you buy stock on the secondary market (ie: stock exchange) that you are not directly giving the money to the company, just like buying a used car does not give money to the car company. While it is true that your money is not going directly into the bank account of the company, your purchase is still benefiting the company via supporting its stock price and you are still becoming part-owner of the company. (See question above on ownership vs. consumerism).
My advisor is Christian, isn’t she already screening my investments?
Probably not. There is a widely held assumption that every Christian advisor or Christian fund company automatically screens for biblical issues. However, many if not most Christian advisors do not invest biblically unless their client specifically asks for it. And many Christian advisors have still never heard of BRI and/or do not have the tools available to them to implement biblical investing. It is always best to make sure to have a conversation with your advisor and let them know these values matter to you.