PODCAST EPISODE 5

Combining Faith and Finance: How Biblical Responsible Investing (BRI) Works

Texas is a part of the Bible Belt. And faith is an integral part of Texan values.

Do your Christian values align with the businesses you are investing in?

Biblical Responsible Investing is becoming more important to Texans than ever before. When investors use BRI principles to put pressure on companies to make right decisions….

….everyone benefits.

Listen now to discover how your faith and finances can make a better world!

Show highlights include:

  • The “Mother Earth Investment Strategy” that lets you be a steward of our environment ([6:12])
  • How investing in salacious media companies funds human trafficking (and how you can eradicate exploitation) ([7:56])
  • Why supporting the LGBTQ+ community forces companies to align with your Biblical worldview ([10:00])
  • How promoting human rights holds Nike and GAP investors accountable by forcing them to not use Chinese manufacturers known for child slave labor (even if you love their products) ([11:33])

Transcript: 

 

The equality act would have threatened churches. It would have threatened women’s sports.

 

Do you want a wealthy retirement without worrying about money? Welcome to the Retire In Texas Podcast, where you will discover how to enjoy your faith, your family, and your freedom in the state of Texas. And now here’s your host, financial advisor, author, and all around good Texan, Darryl Lyons.

 

([00:29]): Welcome to the retire in Texas podcast. My name is Darryl Lyons. I’m the co-founder of PAX Financial Group in San Antonio, Texas PAX financial group is the sponsor of this program. Visit PAX financial group.com. And before I get started, I need to share the legal disclosure. This material contains general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment tax or legal advice. Visit PAX financial group.com for more information, investment advisory services offered through PAX financial group. Okay, this show is cool because we’re going to combine faith and finance. I want to help you understand how biblical responsible investing works, Texas being very much a part of the Bible belt and a faith is an integral part of our values. You could make the case that as the Spanish missions came into Texas and settled in Texas, they were the initial prayer warriors for this state.

 

([01:26]): So biblical responsible investing has become more important to Texans and really Christians around the world. I really was hesitant about this idea of biblical responsible investing. I had many, many clients asked me about biblical responsible investing and I pushed back because I thought it was a farce that was used by disingenuous financial advisors to get clients. I really had that conviction and belief, just like you would a fish on a plumber’s card, only that they jab you with an extra high bill. And it just really bothered me. But I went to a conference called the kingdom advisor conference in Florida, out of a recommendation from a friend and I was blown away. This was more than just a bunch of people that were disingenuous. These were legitimate PhD, MBA well-researched individuals, white papers, a lot of very academic resources there. That impressed me. One of which was a research report done by Morgan Stanley because my concern was sure we could adopt this biblical responsible investing, but what cost does it come for?

 

([02:36]): My clients mean less than returns, higher fees. What does it look like? What is my, what do my clients have to pay to get this biblical responsible investing? Morgan Stanley did a great study and I’ll put this in the show notes. And they looked at 11,000 mutual funds from 2004 to 2018. Now they use the category values based or, or another words that they use is sustainable investment strategies. And a sub category of this values type of investing would be biblically, responsible investing or Muslim or ESG, but values investing was what this study was about. Cause you get a broader set of funds to choose from. So my question was, is there a financial cost for clients to do values investing? And in this Morgan Stanley study, they recognize that there was no financial trade-off for those that chose to do values investing. In fact, they went further and said, there’s quite possibly a reduction in risk.

 

([03:38]): And their quote is we are virtually certain that sustainable investment strategies like value investing may potentially offer downside risk protection to investors in times of high volatility. So that was one of many white papers and research papers that got my attention. And I came to the conclusion that clients who do biblical responsible investing will not have to sacrifice returns. And so then I started to move forward and we became proponents of biblical responsible investing. So I’m going to share with you today, how it works. And generally speaking, think of it this way. There’s a lot of biblical responsible investment mutual funds. A mutual fund is when you invest with thousands of people across the country, and they all have different flavors. Some are adopted by the Baptist. Some are adopted by Catholic. Some are, you know, independent of any denomination. So they all have their different flavors, but generally speaking, they kind of have a point system to where you get points.

 

([04:41]): If you’re good and you’re behaving as a company, that’s aligned with a biblical worldview and, and you get negative points. If you’re misbehaving and your company is antithetical to a biblical worldview. And so ultimately what happens is you may not have a perfect company that is perfectly aligned with the biblical worldview, but you find that you’re going to weed out those that are clearly misbehaving and, and adopt those in the portfolio that are really mostly aligned. Sometimes it’s a hundred percent, but really these are companies. So it’s not going to be a hundred percent, but this point system really flushes out the bad ones and keeps the good ones. And so the system isn’t perfect, but it really has really developed well over the last several years in particular. And namely it started to develop all these screens have started develop well because of the appetite and the demand for biblical responsible investing.

 

([05:37]): As a direct result of people getting tired of woke companies, they’re starting to say, look, I want my money aligned with my values. So these biblical responsible mutual funds are starting to evolve and adapt their scoring system. So I’m loving, I’m loving where it’s going. It’s really, it’s incredible love the industry and the direction it’s going. I’m going to give you seven examples of how a biblical responsible investment fund might work. So I’ll give you seven of these. Let’s jump into the first one, a biblical responsible investment. We’ll invest in companies that love mother earth that loved the environment. And we think oftentimes of environmentalist, as you know, global warming and climate change, and really the far left, we think of that in that regard, but that’s very superficial in thinking because Christians are really the ones that should be the stewards of our air and our water and our land.

 

([06:47]): And in Genesis nine three, it says every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. And it’s almost 24. One in the Psalm of David. It says the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. So we know as Christians were called to steward this earth and our investment dollars should reflect that. And so that will be a screen of a biblical responsible investment portfolio. Our companies stewarding the earth. Number two, a biblical responsible investment. We’ll look for companies that treat their employees well, not exploiting them. And exploiting happens all the time. One of the biggest culprits was Tyson foods. And they’re the ones that make the little chicken nuggets. When you’re too busy to go to Chick-fil-A. In that situation with Tyson foods, they had the assembly lines where they’re cutting chickens and people were holding these knives and slicing up chicken standing shoulder to shoulder, and they were denied restroom breaks and a biblical responsible investment portfolio says our investors or refuse to invest in a company that mistreats workers, number three, BRI Biblical Responsible Investing will not invest in pornography.

 

([08:03]): And that’s like, oh, well of course, that makes sense. I need to unpack it just a little further because what we don’t realize is the pornography industry is such a big industry and it really fuels directly. It really fuels the financial capacity for human traffickers. And me being a father of three girls, I get completely disgusted to think that a child would fall into the traps of the pornography industry and ultimately find themselves being smuggled and sold as slaves. And it’s such a stinking big business. Why is it big? Because the pornography business is the funder of it. There was a situation in the Netherlands where investigators were calculating the amount of money that somebody made or trafficking people. One trafficker earned $18,148 per month from four victims. So that’s 127,000 a second trafficker earn $295,000 in 14 months from three women, or as a result of exploiting three women.

 

([09:09]): Where’s this money coming from hundreds of thousands of dollars are going to traffickers. Where’s this money coming from? It’s coming from the pornography industry and biblical responsible investment refuses to fund that. Sometimes it’s not as overt. Sometimes it’s covert. Think about Comcast, for example, Comcast, it does a lot of stuff, but they’re not going to be a high scoring company. If they don’t make a decision to block porn or at least make it easy to block anything that’s pornography related. Comcast has had an issue with this. At one time, they made customers who wanted to block pornography, go through all these complicated hoops to filter their services. So sometimes it’s an over pornography and sometimes it’s covert companies that are just being complicit in this and they need to get negative points. Number four, this one’s controversial. This is LGBT activism. Let me make it clear.

 

([10:06]): Every biblical responsible investment portfolio I’ve looked at, loves the LGBT community. They don’t discriminate if your MicroCorp is the CEO who is gay, of course the purses and handbags. That’s not going to be a screen out. If you have a benefit package that supports the gay community, that’s not going to be screened out. There’s a lot of love and consideration that the BRI funds want to make sure it’s clear. As I’ve talked to them over the years, that they do not want to discriminate against the gay community at all at all. They’ve made that very clear to me because I have asked this question a hundred thousand times. The one thing that they don’t like is when companies use their profits to support legislation that is antithetical to the biblical worldview. Like the equality act, the equality act is a dangerous act because as a result of the equality act, if that were to be passed churches who refused to adopt the language that was required in the equality act, they could face jail time.

 

([11:06]): They could be fined and Christians hold sacred. The idea of marriage, it’s not just a transaction for us. It’s the bride groomer relationship. And so the equality act would have threatened churches. It would have threatened women’s sports. And as a result, BRI funds made it clear that they would not invest in companies that use their profits to support legislation that was antithetical to the biblical worldview. Number five, biblical responsible investing is very concerned about human rights. Nike and gap have to be held accountable by their investors. If you’re going to use a Chinese manufacturer, who’s known to force Muslims and kids into labor to spin cotton. If you’re going to do that, you need to be held accountable by your investors and investors like those that invest in biblical responsible investing. They should know that the companies that they own don’t do that, that don’t take kids and force them into slave labor.

 

([12:06]): Number six, biblical responsible investing is concerned about alcohol and tobacco. I find that there’s various degrees of this across biblical responsible investing funds, depending on their framework Baptist, don’t like alcohol, maybe the Catholics do. I don’t really know. I know the Baptist one doesn’t, but we’ve got to stop sensationalizing alcohol. It is an issue. And so for that reason, I do support this. Many people think that the first book of the Bible is Guinness and it’s actually not, but it’s so sensationalized. And we don’t recognize what it’s causing to our kids and our country 261 people die a day because of alcohol. It’s far worse than the opioid epidemic, cardiovascular issues, cancer, dementia, mental health disorders. I don’t mind anybody having a cold beer or glass of wine, but the reality is it’s too sensationalized and it’s responsible for a lot of damage in our country.

 

([12:55]): So BRI typically avoids that type of investing. And finally, number seven, biblical responsible investing will avoid gambling, which does have a direct correlation between committing crimes. So those are just some examples, but it goes a lot deeper, but you get an idea. The biblical responsible investing is absolutely trying to find companies that are behaving, align with Jesus’s mission to love your neighbor and not exploit people and take advantage of people and hurt people. I don’t want you to be legalistic about your investing. This is your own unique conviction. And if you have conviction in this space, I know our company packs can help you with that. And I do want to make, mention this. If you’re listening, make sure you get our eBook, Retire in Texas, at www.paxfinancialgroup.com. That way you can be in our community and we can start engaging with you that way. But going back to the point, everyone has unique convictions in this space.

 

([13:46]): So you have to pray about it and think about it. But I want to put this in perspective, as I close this out. When you own a stock, you own a company, you have ownership in a company and think of it this way. There’s a company in New York, a business in New York that would send a model to a hotel room for $10,000 a night. We all know that’s not a model. That’s a prostitute. Well, so New York indicted the operators of the companies, the one that run it, manage it. They indicted the owners, the people who actually own it, but they also indicted the two investors, the people who put each $700,000 into this business. And so you have to ask yourself, are you held liable as an owner, even if you’re passive. And I think we’re starting to see that in aggregate, this is becoming a real issue.

 

([14:28]): In fact, Senator Rubio said, he’s tired of it. He’s introducing a bill called mind your own business act, which would enable shareholders to hold woke corporations accountable. And specifically the legislation would require corporate directors to prove that their actions were in the shareholders’ best interest. So these executives many times have their own agenda and to the detriment of this stockholders. And this is where I think biblical responsible investing can get powerful because we can in aggregate hold companies accountable. And I know it’s happened before GM had listened to their shareholders, scream and yell and take their pitchforks regarding their working conditions at GM. Listen, Costco has course corrected because biblically responsible investors disagreed with some of their decisions. So collectively, as we see people invest with their dollars into biblical responsible companies, I believe that there can be more corporate change as well. I believe that there’ll be more people holding the executives accountable to their decisions. So when you invest in funds or companies, you will have a voice and you will be able to vote and aggregate. You will be able to make a difference. And it first begins with aligning your investments with biblical values. I hope this show is helpful, a lot to unpack, but I really appreciate you listening in today. Remember to grab our eBook, Retire in Texas, at www.paxfinancialgroup.com. And remember you think different when you think long-term. 

 

This is ThePodcastFactory.com.

 

References: 

*https://www.addictions.com/gambling/5-alarming-gambling-addiction-statistics/ 

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