CBIS PROUD TO ACCEPT INVITATION INTO CATHOLIC IMPACT INVESTING COLLABORATIVE

As a manager of Catholic assets for more than 40 years, CBIS is humbled by its invitation to join one of the industry’s premier organizations, the Catholic Impact Investing Collaborative, or “CIIC”.

CBIS was invited for membership at a new level created for financial intermediaries that support Catholic asset owners’ impact investing activities.

WHAT IS THE CATHOLIC IMPACT INVESTING COLLABORATIVE?

CIIC (pronounced “seek”) is a collaborative for Catholic asset owners and financial intermediaries around the world to share connections and exchange ideas around  impact investments.

The organization’s members include a pioneering Catholic institutions representing seven countries and over $40 billion in assets that have led the way in impact investing.

WHAT IS IMPACT INVESTING?

According to the Global Impact Investing Network, impact investments are made with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. How CIIC participants think about and approach their investment portfolios relies, of course, on the distinct values and heritage of the Catholic community. 

Like CIIC, we at CBIS believe impact investing has enormous potential to contribute to the solutions our society demands.

CBIS and the CIIC

According to Jeffrey McCroy, CBIS’ President and Chief Executive Officer, the two organization’s goals are very much in alignment.

“In the end, CIIC and CBIS are each working to educate the Catholic investment community. We are honored by this opportunity to share our decades of experience with a group so committed to making a positive impact. We look forward to all we will learn from each other in efforts to serve the Catholic church.”

For more information on the CIIC, visit www.catholicimpact.org.

“YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD”

As we look back on a particularly challenging year, I’m reminded once again of scripture. You might recognize the line above from Matthew. In full context, the verse speaks to the miracle of light — the idea that it’s in us all, regardless of circumstances — and that something so precious should not be wasted.

As we head into 2023, we feel optimistic and grateful for our amazing team and incredible investors at CBIS.
During a time when it is easy to only focus on darkness, we choose to look for the light.

Helping to Answer a Higher Calling

CBIS has always placed the highest importance on Catholic teaching and service to the Catholic market.
Over the years, we’ve come to know that ensuring an alignment of interests between CBIS and its
investors demands a two-pronged approach: Independent oversight of the traditional governance
functions and an advisory body to emphasize the firm’s applications of Church teaching.

CBIS’ Charisms Council was formed as an advisory body to review and opine on important CBIS’
initiatives that touch on the firm’s application of Catholic teaching in its investment strategies…

CBIS welcomes Mariana, Aryaman, Enrique, and Juan to our 2022 summer internship program. Interns will have an opportunity to integrate what they learned during college and apply it to beneficial work experiences while receiving valuable guidance from mentors. We look forward to watching their skills advance throughout the program.

In 2021, CBIS filed a groundbreaking resolution asking ExxonMobil to provide investors with crucial information that would allow investors to factor climate-related information into financial statements and audits. Despite nearly half (49%) of shareholders voting in favor of our proposal, Exxon has still not met our requests.

CBIS now encourages all investors to again vote in favor of our Shareholder Proposal,  Item 8 – Report on Scenario Analysis, to be voted on at the ExxonMobil shareholder meeting on May 25, 2022.  Read our full rationale in CBIS’ Proxy Exempt Solicitation.

CBIS is not alone in our requests – global investors, the S.E.C., and even oil & gas companies are recognizing that risks from climate change need to be made visible to aid the investment decision-making process. We also have a higher calling – taking action to Save Our Common Home as directed in Laudato Si and the Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines of The United States Conference Of Catholic Bishops.”

John W. Geissinger, Chief Investment Officer, CBIS

CO-FILERS OF THE PROPOSAL  Adrian Dominican Sisters; As You Sow Foundation; Congregation des Soeurs des Saints Noms de Jesus et de Marie; Congregation of Benedictine Sisters of Boerne, Texas; Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica; Benedictine Sisters of Virginia; Bon Secours Mercy Health; CommonSpirit Health; Congregation of St. Joseph, OH; Daughters of Charity, Province of St Louise; Dominican Sisters of Hope; M&G Investments; Maryknoll Sisters; Mercy Investment Services; Monasterio Pan de Vida; Presbyterian Church USA; Providence St. Joseph Health; Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order (Midwest Capuchins); School Sisters of Notre Dame, Atlantic Midwest Province; School Sisters of Notre Dame, Central Pacific Province; School Sisters of Notre Dame Cooperative Investment Fund; Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, US Ontario Province; Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell, NJ

The securities identified and described do not represent all of the securities purchased, sold or recommended for the CRI Funds, CBIS Global Funds, and separate managed accounts.  The reader should not assume that an investment in the securities identified was or will be profitable. It is not known whether the listed clients approve or disapprove of the adviser or its services.

By now, most everyone’s aware the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops – the USCCB – approved new investment Guidelines at its 2021 General Assembly. The updates, extensive by our account, were overwhelmingly approved by the full body of U.S. Bishops.

Here’s a big point: This is the first update to the USCCB guidance in 18 years.

We know the Guidelines help inform investment decisions of a countless number of Catholic religious communities, dioceses, colleges, church organizations, and individual investors around the U.S.

It’s worth remembering that they don’t have to.

The Guidelines are, in fact, intended for the USCCB itself– its operations, its funds, its monies. The Conference is not a regulatory agency. Even if a bishop voted for the Guidelines at the plenary session, he could still do something different in his own diocese. Catholic investors choose to align their investments with the Guidelines at their own discretion.

Key Takeaways from the 2021 Guidance

While the CBIS investment team is still analyzing the new guidance, we can already suggest there are FOUR notable attributes to highlight in the update.

  1. The guidance was developed through a very thoughtful process

The new Guidelines were drafted by the USCCB staff under the leadership of a Bishops’ Working Group, chaired by the USCCB Treasurer, Bishop Gregory L. Parkes of the Diocese of St. Petersburg.

The working group’s efforts began with a survey of all U.S. Bishops and included meetings with external subject matter experts as well as ESG research providers. The final document was sent out to every Bishop in the United States well in advance of the Conference. Any bishop could offer a modification he wanted to see individually. A good number did.

  1. The Guidelines emphasize a holistic policy approach

The new Guidelines incorporate teachings of both Pope Benedict and Pope Francis and they intricately connect five major categories of USCCB policies:

  • Protecting Human Life,
  • Promoting Human Dignity,
  • Enhancing The Common Good,
  • Pursuing Economic Justice, and
  • Saving Our Global Common Home.

  1. The USCCB will periodically review the Guideline’s relevance

In carrying out its investment strategies, the USCCB will now review the Guideline’s relevance every three years. We think this is a huge breakthrough. Remember, the last time the Guidelines were reviewed was 18 years ago. A regular review will keep the guidance fresh and relevant.

The Bishops are still figuring out exactly what the review will look like – when it will happen, how it will be done, and so on.

  1. The updated Guidelines reaffirm and expand prior investment strategies

The final attribute to note is that the Guidelines reaffirm and expand a number of existing investment strategies. The USCCB investment strategies to avoid doing harm as well as to actively work for change as an investor were both reaffirmed and significantly extended.

The Guidelines also again require a refusal to invest in companies whose products and/or policies are counter to the values of Catholic moral teachings or statements by the Conference itself. This guidance includes any decisions not to invest in the first place, as well as divesting. Likewise, the Guidelines again require the use of the Conference’s position as shareholder and part owner to engage companies through dialogue with management, voting at corporate meetings, and supportive resolution.

What happens next?

CBIS will continue to comprehensively analyze the robust list of specific policies the USCCB has articulated.

Like you, we are deeply troubled by the recent attacks on Ukraine. As brothers and sisters in Christ, and on Ash Wednesday, we pray for a swift and peaceful resolution. We pray especially for the poor and vulnerable who are most impacted in times of crisis and conflict. And we pray for the continued strength and courage of the leadership and citizens of Ukraine.

While we cannot predict the outcome in Ukraine, we want to share our thoughts on how this might impact global financial markets and economies and discuss exposure to Russia in our funds.

“A JOYFUL HEART IS GOOD MEDICINE”

This line from Proverbs is timeless, but it may have never been more timely. Here we are at the beginning of a new year, and I believe we have cause to celebrate. The Catholic Church perseveres, people in the pews remain devoted, and I’m confident that your efforts to impact the world are making a difference. We’ve accomplished much to that end, and I’m altogether excited about the future.