Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Barron's "Most Respected Companies" Questioned by Biblically Responsible Investing Group

From "Barron's "Most Respected Companies" Questioned by Biblically Responsible Investing Group" by Warren Smith, posted at The Charlotte World

Barron's Magazine, in its Sept. 10, 2007 issue, released its list of the "Most Respected Companies."

But many companies on the list get little respect from the Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI) Institute.

The BRI Institute evaluates companies based on whether they're engaged in or promoting activities Christians would find objectionable - including pornography, genocide, and abortion. Of the top 10 companies on the Barron's list, only 3 of them pass the BRI Institute's screens.

Rusty Leonard, CFA, a former Templeton fund manager who founded Stewardship Partners, his own investment management company focusing on a BRI approach, is also the president of the BRI Institute. He said, "While we do not doubt that these companies are well managed in many respects, Christian investors have higher standards. The Lord desires us to be good stewards of all that He has entrusted to our care, including our investments. Therefore we examine a company's actions very closely to see if there are areas that might be at odds with our faith."

The top company on Barron's list is Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway. According to Leonard, Christian investors should have serious concerns about it as well. At this year's annual meeting shareholders addressed the issue of the company's oil investments in the Sudan, where the government is complicit in genocidal activity. Buffet refused to sell the investment due to these shareholder concerns, but has recently been reducing his stake to cash in on a substantial profit.

"Profiting from genocide, however, is not what any investor, Christian or otherwise, should desire," said Leonard.

Additionally, Buffet's family foundations, which benefit from their association with Berkshire Hathaway, have been substantial supporters of Planned Parenthood.

Read the entire article.