“There’s no SRI going on here at all,” George Schwartz, CFA and president of Schwartz Investment Counsel, bluntly stated at the outset of the interview. “We do MRI.”
For those wondering, SRI is obviously socially responsible investing, but MRI?
“Morally responsible investing,” Schwartz said.
Although Schwartz (left) is the manager of the Ave Maria Mutual Funds, he gets quite a bit of input, much of it from notable names. The funds’ advisory board is a who’s-who of high-profile Catholics; retired football coach Lou Holtz, Larry Kudlow of CNBC, pundit Phyllis Schlafly and philosopher Michael Novak are just a few.
The direction they give is what you’d expect with a fund that invests according to religious prescripts.
“We screen for a narrow focus,” Schwartz explained. “Abortion is a big one, so any company that performs abortions or donates to abortion providers is prohibited. That includes dug companies that make abortifacients and hospitals that perform them. Investment is prohibited in any company that donates to Planned Parenthood, for instance.”
Investment in embryonic stem cell research is also prohibited, though Schwartz was quick to point out that adult stem cell research is not.
“Lastly, any company that makes and distributes pornography is screened out,” he added.