A California-based investment company raised eyebrows this week after launching two “biblically responsible” exchange trade funds, or ETFs, that eliminate stocks of companies that support the LGBTQ community.
The company, Inspire Investing, launched the two ETFs Tuesday, targeting investors who want to their portfolio holdings to represent their personal faith. In a Feb. 10 regulatory filing, Inspire Investing vowed explicitly to forgo buying shares in companies that have “any degree of participation in activities that do not align with biblical values,” including abortion, alcohol, pornography and the LGBTQ “lifestyle.”
Inspire Investing utilizes a web app that performs an online search to determine a company’s adherence to “Christian values” before purchasing shares for a particular client, local CBS affiliate KPIX 5 reported Wednesday. Those with a “higher moral purity” make the cut.
Robert Netzly, who is Inspire Investing’s chief executive and president said he sees his company as “the Chick-fil-A of investments” in a nod to that fast food chain’s public opposition to same-sex marriage. Noting that the investment community “has a very strong liberal tilt,” Netzly said, “There’s been nothing there for conservative investors... We exclude companies that choose to take a hardline activist stance on any issue that is outside of the moral fabric.”
A devout Christian, Netzly elaborated on the queer exclusion specifically in an email to The Huffington Post. “We are not against the LGBTQ community. Inspire Investing and its investing tools do not promote or condone bigotry,” he said. “In fact, we love our neighbors in the LGBTQ community, and encourage companies to offer equal benefits to all of its employees.” The ETFs, he noted, “simply exclude companies’ stocks that take a hardline activist agenda and don’t align with biblical values.”
Inspire Investing created the ETFs, Netzly said, because investors had expressed interest in “vehicles with a conservative theme.” In addition, the company will donate 50 percent of its corporate profits to Syrian refugee relief efforts and clean water projects, he said.