The influence of Pope Francis’ recent visit to New York is being felt at Morgan Stanley (MS). The wirehouse said early Friday that it is rolling out a tool kit for financial advisors based on Catholic values.
“We are pleased to provide our [individual and institutional] clients with strategies to pursue risk-adjusted financial returns in tandem with faith-based objectives,” said Hilary Irby, Head of Morgan Stanley’s Investing with Impact Initiative, in a statement. “There continues to be a growing range of investment choices and opportunities in the Catholic values space, across mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and separately managed accounts.”
According to the firm, the initiative aims to help investors “customize their portfolios to align with their personal and institutional faith-based goals.”
It is part of Morgan Stanley’s broader Investing with Impact Platform, which was introduced in 2012 and includes more than 130 investment products focused on environmental and social impact investing.
News of the company’s Catholic-values rollout came on the same day that the Rainforest Action Network staged rallies in nine major cities calling for Morgan Stanley to divest from the coal industry. According to the group, Citigroup said recently it would make cuts to its coal-financing projects, and Bank of America also made a similar pledge.
In early June, Morgan Stanley issued a $500 million green bond to fund the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. As for when it may consider changing its approach to coal, the company referenced its enviornmental policy statement that says it is “committed to considering environmental issues in all aspects of our business, including how we evaluate companies, transactions and risk … and how we promote and develop new market opportunities. We believe that our approach to environmental issues helps us pursue our principal focus of creating long-term value for our shareholders and serving the long-term interests of our clients.”