Ashrinking violet he is not. Calling Christian planners who keep their religious beliefs out of the workplace “entirely misguided,” Dennis Carpenter even says he hopes planners who disagree with him will call him up so he can try to change their minds.
The head of International Wealth Management in Grapevine, Texas, is equally forthright when it comes to his own clients. If a client says, “Invest my money with an eye only to returns,” he’ll do it–but in subsequent meetings, don’t expect him to keep quiet about investment alternatives that screen stocks for involvement in abortion, pornography, “anti-family entertainment,” and the like. If the client changes her tune, wonderful. If not, well…. “It’s like if I told you I hated your hair every time I saw you,” he says, chuckling. “Pretty soon one of two things is going to happen: You’re either going to change your hair, or you’re going to stop hanging around me.”
There are more people interested in “changing their hair” than you’d think, he notes. “You’d be amazed: If you sit down with a client and say, ‘Here’s a list of 10 things. Do you want your dollars to support any or all of these things?’” he says. “‘If I can share with you investment alternatives that would give you competitive rates of return without supporting these things, would you be interested?’” More often than not, the answer is yes–though, granted, clients who’d have said no would probably not be having this meeting in the first place, since Carpenter’s Biblical bent is clearly apparent on his company materials.
When clients decide to move money from an “objectionable” fund to a “pure” one, Carpenter gives them a sort of “Dear John” letter to send to the bad guys so they know why they’re getting the boot. “It basically says, ‘Dear Fund Family: We’re leaving, but you may be surprised that we’re not leaving because of performance. We’re leaving because this fund is supporting anti-family issues, and we choose not to be a part of it.’” Carpenter, who serves as vice president of the National Association of Christian Financial Consultants (www.nacfc.org), is also working to raise the public’s awareness of Biblically based investing by holding informational seminars in local churches, and organizing a group for Dallas/Fort Worth planners interested in learning more about the concept.–Karen Hansen Weese