Investment management disciplines based on biblical principles: This is the mission of a new association of consultants and financial planners.
The group -- the National Association of Christian Financial Consultants -- was founded by Arthur Ally, president of the Timothy Plan Mutual Fund, a socially responsible equity fund that is screened according to Christian principles.
The goal of the group, said Mr. Ally who is also its president, is to provide educational resources, fellowship and support to financial planners and consultants who want to incorporate Christian values into their work.
Through a quarterly newsletter, seminars and an annual conference, the group will help to define Christian standards for investing -- such as avoiding investment in companies engaged in activities like abortion, pornography and gambling.
The organization also aims to help investment advisers apply the principles of honesty, integrity and morality to all aspects of their business.
"It's interesting," said Mr. Ally, "that references to money and finance occur in the Bible in a 4-1 ratio over any other references, yet there hasn't been a group until now that helps investment advisers apply Christian values to their management of money and client relationships."
To join the association, potential members have to meet four criteria: testify to the saving grace of God; be professionally trained investment advisers in good standing with industry regulating bodies; have a commitment to integrate biblical principles into money management practices; and accept responsibility for investing only in companies or countries that will not use investment dollars to violate biblical principles.
Each applicant also has to submit a letter of recommendation from his or her pastor and one other personal reference.
About 20 investment advisers have been approved for NACFC membership in the first few weeks since the group's founding. Mr. Ally said he expects at least 200 to join within the first year.
The seven-member board of trustees includes Mr. Ally; Joseph Boatwright, a retired Southern Baptist pastor; Wesley Pennington, a retired Air Force colonel; Daniel Busby, general treasurer of the Wesleyan Church International; Phil Crosby, founder of Quality Management Co. and a frequent lecturer; Scott Fehrenbacher, president of the Institute for American Values in Investing; and Dr. Jock Sneddon, a physician.