In 2007, we welcomed a new CBIS shareholder, the Center of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools in Rome, which coordinates the work of the individual De La Salle Christian Brothers Provinces worldwide. The Center is CBIS’ first non-U.S. shareholder and a seventh and equal partner in the firm. Drawing on the support brought by the Center, in 2008 we launched a new entity — CBIS Global Funds plc — to bring Catholic socially responsible investing to the European Union and beyond.
Catholic organizations outside the U.S. have expressed a strong interest in integrating their values into the management of their investments. Dublin, Ireland-based CBIS Global Funds enables these organizations to invest according to their principles while accessing the institutional investment expertise necessary to fund their missions. CBIS Global offers diversified global equity and fixed-income exposure and the same Catholic SRI program — including Principled Purchasing (stock screens), shareholder advocacy and proxy voting — that the CUIT and RCT funds managed by CBIS employ.
The six funds include euro-denominated short-term government bond, global bond, European equity and global equity funds and dollar-denominated core equity and international equity funds. CBIS co-founder Brother Louis DeThomasis is leading the marketing and servicing of the new funds in Rome as President of the CBIS European Union Division, the sponsor of CBIS Global. Despite the difficult market environment and the challenges that face any new venture, we are confident in the global demand for Catholic SRI and we know that Brother Louis’ strong leadership can produce the same success for CBIS Global as it did for CBIS.
CBIS Global will help us further another important strategic goal in 2009 — the strengthening of our international SRI capability through expanded alliances with international SRI partners. In the spring of 2008, the U.S. Social Investment Forum, of which we are a member, held its first symposium outside North America. CBIS attended and participated in a panel discussion at the three-day event in London. Other attendees included the U.K. Social Investment Forum, the Euro Social Investment Forum, NGOs and European religious investors. We all discussed ways to work together with international corporations to advance our active ownership ideas and initiatives.
In early January 2009, we sought to strengthen our relationship with 3iG, a Barcelona-based organization that promotes socially responsible investing to religious investors worldwide, by hosting the organization’s newly appointed Secretary General for a planning discussion at our New York office. The credit crisis and worldwide recession may stall, but will likely not reverse, the globalization of financial markets and national economies. Over the long term, the international equity exposure in participants’ diversified portfolios will probably grow.
CBIS’ extensive experience with domestic active ownership initiatives gives us much to offer an emerging global SRI community searching for the most effective ways to influence corporate policies and strategies. And we have much to learn from engaged investors overseas. Working together, we can exert a constructive influence on the way the world does business. We look forward to this growing challenge and responsibility.
CBIS Global Funds enables Catholic organizations outside the U.S. to invest according to their principles while accessing the institutional investment expertise necessary to fund their missions.