Over the last few years, anti-Christian activists have influenced asset managers and are pushing ungodly agendas. If you invest in Mutual Funds or ETFs, your Fund Managers may be voting on your behalf, against your values.
I wonder if Christian shareholders are aware their votes are pushing Marxist, social gospel resolutions. If we voted in a bloc for board members based on Biblical values, perhaps the blatant ungodliness we’ve seen at Bud Lite, Target, Ford, Disney, etc., would not even exist at all.
Proverbs 27:23 LSB – Know well the condition of your flocks, and pay attention to your herds.
Over the last five years, as I learned this was becoming a larger issue, I’ve been thinking of some good ways to invest from a Christian perspective.
Doing a quick search reveals Faith-Based funds. The Timothy Plan, Global X by SEI, and Inspire. These funds try to avoid “sin” stocks by screening out companies that promote abortion, homosexuality, cross-dressing, alcohol (which is not even a sin), tobacco (again..), etc. But I’m less interested in avoiding “sin” stocks. My investment strategy is to own the market. What I want to know is, for the funds you hold, are the fund managers using your proxy vote to support Biblical or ESG values? I couldn’t find a lot of information on this until earlier this year.
Pension Politics recently released a report on how Fund Companies Proxy Vote. The report grades Fund Managers on how they vote from A to F. The closer to A, the more the fund managers voted against ESG policies, and the companies rated closer to F voted for the ESG policies. Looking through the report, I took note of some of the larger players:
- PRIMECAP – A (perfect voting score)
- Dimensional – A
- Vanguard – A (of the largest three fund managers, Vanguard has the highest grade)
- Fidelity – A
- Blackrock – C (for all the bad press Blackrock gets, they aren’t the worst)
- JP Morgan – C (no surprise there)
- Charles Schwab – D (Chuck, what happened?!)
- State Street – D
Remember the “Christian” Faith-Based funds I mentioned earlier? I looked through all the fund families highlighted on the Faith Driven Investor site. I couldn’t find information on all of them, but of the ones in the report:
- The Timothy Plan got an F.
- SEI, which runs the Global X Catholic Values fund, got a D-.
- GuideStone – F.
- Praxis Mutual Funds (Everance) – F-.
- Knights of Columbus – F-.
Dave Ramsey, who is promoted in many churches, recommends SmartVestor Pro advisors, which sells Alger funds…
- Alger – F- (worst possible score voting for every woke proposal).
As an aside, many of the Alger funds have enormous fees; if you are ever tempted to buy such a fund, you may want to read Where Are the Customers’ Yachts? by Fred Schwed Jr. and Enough by John C. Bogle.
So, while Faith-Based investing funds appear to be pious in their avoidance of “sin” stocks, they vote to turn the stocks they do hold into social justice companies.
is one exception (Update 2023-11-05) are two exceptions. Inspire and CrossMark Global Investments:
- The Inspire, which got an A grade with a perfect voting record. They aim to be Biblically responsible, and they do vote according to Biblical values. If the 0.35% net ER (Expense Ratio) were a bit lower, I’d consider holding their BIBL fund.
- CrossMark Global Investments – also got a perfect A. Now, some of the share classes of the fund have load fees, and the fund expenses are high (see my note on Alger); the Inspire ETF expenses are more reasonable.
Next time you’re about to invest, read the report from Pension Politics to see how your fund manager votes.
In the past, I’ve preferred to hold index funds from Vanguard, Schwab, Fidelity, State Street, and Blackrock without considering how they vote on my behalf; I have adjusted my IPS to prefer fund managers that are more likely to vote in the way I would.
Finally, while it is wise and good stewardship to verify your fund managers are representing your values, the fact that woke resolutions can even be successful is a symptom of a much larger problem, and that is simply that people are ungodly. Unless the hearts of men change towards God, which is only possible through the Gospel, any other form of resistance to ungodly shareholder resolutions is futile.
I’ve made the assumption that the reader already understands the dangers of Wokism and ESG; this has been well-defended and documented elsewhere, so I didn’t triple the size of this post to do that. But if you are interested, see MacArthur’s article on The Injustice of Social Justice and listen to A Biblical Theology of Climate Change at the Just Thinking podcast.