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ETFs: Five New Products for Faith-Based Investors

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A new lineup of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) proposes to follow the strict values of Baptists, Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists and Christians.

The FaithShares Catholic Values Fund (FCV), the FaithShares Methodist Values Fund (FMV) and the FaithShares Christian Values Fund (FOC), FaithShares Baptist Values Fund (FZB) and the FaithShares Lutheran Values Fund (FKL).

The funds attempt to adhere to each denomination’s religious values by avoiding publicly traded stocks that profit from alcohol, gambling, pornography, tobacco, weaponry and other off-limit activities.

“We created these funds to meet the needs of investors who want to participate in the potential of the stock market, yet be good stewards of their money,” says Thompson S. Phillips Jr., president of FaithShares. “Each of our ETFs will include 100 stocks of large, well-known companies but specifically exclude those considered to be in ‘objectionable industries’ by a specific denomination.”

The FaithShares charge 0.87% in annual expenses. The company is based in Oklahoma City, Okla., and its motto is “invest with conviction.” The ETF shares are distributed by SEI Investments Distribution.

In July 2009, the Javelin Dow Jones Islamic Market International Index Fund (JVS) was the first socially responsible ETF with a religious theme to be unveiled. While the Islamic ETF has been slow to gather new

investments (just $4.8 million in assets), it takes a similar approach as the FaithShares ETFs by avoiding investments not compatible with certain religious beliefs.

FaithShares ETFs are benchmarked to custom indexes developed by FTSE and KLD Research & Analytics.