Change Is Under Way for Catholic Investing

Catholic investors have a long past in responsible investing. The church added a new page to that history this month, and Dana Investment Advisors was honored to play a role in the process.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has updated its responsible investment guidelines. The church conducted its review with input from Catholic investors within the investment industry, including Dana’s Portfolio Manager Duane Roberts.

Why is the Review Important to the Market?

The review is important because many churches, foundations, endowments, Catholic universities and individual investors manage their assets according to the Catholic church’s responsible investment guidelines.

Those guidelines, first issued in 1991, were some of the earliest directives around responsible investing, when the concept was still unknown to many investors. Before November’s update, the church last updated those guidelines in 2003.

Why is Catholic Investing Important to Dana?

Updates to those guidelines, which we may share in upcoming blogs, are important to Dana because we serve a lot of Catholic investors, and our Dana Epiphany Funds invest in line with USCCB’s investment guidelines.

In fact, Catholic churches are not only some of our longest-standing clients, but serving them led to our earliest forays into Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing, which has evolved to become a much bigger focus for the firm.

As we shared in a prior blog, we worked with a group of nuns in 1999 that were seeking equity exposure in their portfolio. We helped get them comfortable with the asset class by placing some constraints on the portfolio that reflected their values.

That work is what got us started thinking about environmental, social and governance risks, and led to our early research that found investing along such criteria was leading to better performance on a risk adjusted basis. This provided the early springboard from values-based investing to ESG investing that we are known for today.


If you’re interested in Catholic investing, and want to learn more about our work within this market niche, we encourage you to schedule a call with one of our portfolio managers.

ESG Investing: Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing may take into consideration factors beyond traditional financial information to select securities, which could result in relative investment performance deviating from other strategies or broad market benchmarks, depending on whether such sectors or investments are in or out of favor in the market. Further, ESG strategies may rely on certain values based criteria to eliminate exposures found in similar strategies or broad market benchmarks, which could also result in relative investment performance deviating. There is no assurance that employing ESG strategies will result in more favorable investment performance.

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