"Do I really have to get involved?"
It concerns me that Christians who have investments in the public markets
are among the most passive uninterested shareholders when it comes to
issues that ought to matter. This was driven home recently by an article
in the Sunday, NY Times business section (P. 4 to be exact if you wish
to look it up) by one Daniel Akst. Now I have never read much of his
work before but he frames a discussion about two CEO’s, one who
is overpaid and another who commits adultery. His theme is that adultery
doesn’t really look so bad in comparison to this overpaid guy since
the stock of the company that cheating CEO worked for has rebounded and
done well thanks in part to this man’s expertise before being let
go for his indiscretion.
What strikes me as a Christian Financial Advisor is that we have not
done a very good job of shareholder activism in either
case. Where is the outrage from Christian Advisors and investors when
we look at the corporate governance attitudes of the CEO from Home Depot,
Robert Nardelli who has collected almost $250 million in the last 5 years
while shareholders have seen their stock value decline in that period
of time. Add to the fact that he stonewalled any shareholder questions
at the most recent annual meeting so he wouldn’t have to explain his compensation
and also made certain that no dialogue could take place with other directors
as they also were missing from the annual meeting.
be doing everything in our power as shareholders to bring Christian values
to the board room as well as to the practices of companies we invest
in? I will admit that I have taken the easy road on this one and have
started to liquidate all holdings in HD as long as Mr. Nardelli conducts
business this way, and I will try to have all shopping done at Lowe’s
or the local hardware, NOT at Home Depot.
Yes, is the answer to the opening question! It’s high time Christians
start to take the idea of Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI) seriously.
You must find ways to use the tools that are available to you to incorporate
BRI mutual funds and money managers into your practice and then get serious
about questioning the companies you build positions in to see that their
practices would make Jesus say “Well Done”.
Sent July 3, 2006
Dwight Short if you would like to receive future
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