At CBIS, we utilize a disciplined approach to socially responsible investing (SRI) in order to integrate Catholic social teachings into the investment process. Our SRI program is consistent with the Catholic Bishops’ guidelines on socially responsible investing, the consensus values of our participants, and the priorities of the larger SRI community – as well as the financial imperatives of a sound investment program.
Consensus Values of Participants
Through an extensive network that represents the full spectrum of Catholic institutional investors, CBIS has a ready source of information. We encounter our investors in individual meetings, at seminars and national conferences, through our newsletter, local coalitions and national organizations. These venues provide us with a steady stream of information and feedback that is used to formulate the priorities and strategies that CBIS enacts on behalf of our participants.
In addition, CBIS conducts formal surveys of our participant base to help identify the issues that are of concern to them and their priorities among a range of issues.
Catholic Church Teachings
Our SRI policy is consistent with the guidelines for ethical Catholic investing established by the (USCCB.) CBIS' SRI program is consistent with the guidelines developed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), although we also draw upon input from CBIS participants and the policies pursued by other SRI investors, always mindful of the financial impact that a particular strategy will have on investment returns.
In November 2003, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) released an updated statement of its guidelines for Catholic socially responsible investing, the first update since the organization's guidelines were established in 1991. The new guidelines are available at http://www.usccb.org
CBIS was honored to be the only investment firm asked to advise the USCCB in the development of the updated guidelines. CBIS Chief Executive Officer Michael O'Hern, FSC served as a member of the USCCB's Socially Responsible Task Force that guided the process, and CBIS Executive Vice President Francis Coleman, who at the time was Director of CBIS' SRI department, attended policy development meetings and offered his perspective on implementation of Catholic SRI.
SRI Network Priorities
As faith investors, we are called to collaborate with each other and with those who share our common goals. Whenever possible, CBIS looks to collaborate with other socially responsible investors, networks of investors and investment managers to advance our work.
The most important network with which we collaborate is the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR). CBIS is a member of ICCR, an ecumenical coalition of over 300 faith-based institutional investors working collectively for social change. CBIS shares a broad theological and moral perspective with ICCR members, and has worked successfully with them on a variety of issues of concern to our participants. Collaboration with other religious investors is valuable because it leverages our influence, and encourages the exchange of ideas. Companies listen more attentively when multiple voices raise the same kinds of concerns.
In addition to ICCR, CBIS seeks to collaborate with many other responsible investors who have similar agendas. These include responsible investor coalitions, individual investors, socially responsible mutual funds, public pension funds and private foundations.
As a registered investment adviser that is committed to support the mission of our investors, CBIS is always concerned about and aware of the financial impact of our actions. As a fiduciary, we are required to be aware of this impact. As a faith based adviser, we must be ever mindful of the need to balance the needs of faith and finance for the benefit of our participants.