What is a Christian Investment Firm?

bryan-taylor

Introduction

Investment firms are numerous, and they vary in numerous ways.  For example, firms may have different views on market timing and asset allocation.  Different investment firms offer different services as well.  One important but often overlooked aspect of a firm is its values.  Organizations may be well-served by seeking out investment firms that share the organization’s values.  More specifically, a Christian investment firm may offer unique benefits to a Christian nonprofit organization.  Below we describe some of the distinguishing factors of Christian investment companies.

Values and Mission

As stated above, some organizations seek to partner with vendors with whom they share values.  While searching out service providers, organizations should seek to understand the values of both the firm and its people.  Aside from general appearances, why is values alignment important for Christian organizations?  Because values shape integrity and drive action.  Additionally, a firm with values similar to its client’s will typically be more driven to help the client advance its mission.  The probability of a conflict of interest is likely to be reduced as well.

Christian-Based Investing

Unlike most firms, Christian investment companies may be familiar with Christian-based investing.  Another term for this approach is Biblically Responsible Investing, or BRI for short (note:  see our article about BRI here).  Christian-based investing can be approached from a variety of angles, such as avoiding certain investments or focusing more heavily on others.  There is a great deal of nuance in both the variety of issues involved (e.g., tobacco or abortion) as well as how these issues manifest themselves in investment opportunities.  Overall, Christian-based investing is quite daunting when one begins to understand the complexity and depth involved.

Christian investment services firms are often particularly experienced and knowledgeable about Christian-based investing issues.  These firms can guide organizations regarding key issues as well as Biblically Responsible Investing products.  In short, a Christian investment firm should be well-equipped to shape a portfolio to fit the organization’s values.

Donor Interaction

Now more than ever, donors are more critically evaluating how nonprofits are carrying out their missions and living out their values.  One way that nonprofits can demonstrate a commitment to their values is through the service providers they hire.  Donors may be pleased to see Christian nonprofits partnering with Christian investment companies.

How are donors positively influenced by an organization’s choice of vendor aside from mere general perception?  The avenue is through direct interaction between the Christian investment services firm and major donors.  The highest-capacity donors are more likely to make gifts to be used over a longer period of time.  These gifts have significant investment and stewardship elements.  Donors will typically be more willing to give if they believe the gift will be stewarded in line with the donor’s values.

Network and Expertise

A Christian investment firm serving Christian organizations is likely to have clients facing similar issues and thus may know solutions to various challenges the organizations face.  Further, a Christian investment services firm is able to connect clients directly to peer organizations for idea-sharing conversations.  Additionally, a Christian firm is likely capable of making referrals to and having synergies with other Christian service providers.

About Cornerstone Management

Cornerstone Management was founded in 1991.  Its two primary founders, Ray Tyler and Johnny Warren, had previously worked together in a financial planning firm.  Early in the firm’s history, Cornerstone’s founders considered their own faith when electing to focus the firm on serving Christian nonprofit organizations.  This clarity of faith continues to provide Cornerstone with focus and passion today.  It shapes the decisions we make, how we interact with clients and their donors, and how we select our own service providers.

Is your organization interested in working with a Christian investment firm?  At Cornerstone Management, we provide investment, planned gift administration, and gift and estate design consulting services.  Contact us if you’d like to learn more.