April 6, 2018

General Conference Corporation Board Reviews and Refines Investment Practices

Adventist News Network and Adventist Review

The General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (GC) has reaffirmed its longstanding commitment to making investments consistent wth its ethical and fiduciary commitments.

The GC Corporation Board—the property holding body of the General Conference—met on March 20, 2018 to review and refine current investment practices of the General Conference.

The General Conference Investment Management Committee, through the GC Investment Office, is given investment management responsibilities by the Corporation and the various denominational trustees of the funds. Its mandate includes managing funds entrusted to the GC by church organizations, retirement funds, and institutions.

The Investment Management Committee seeks “to invest these funds in a professional, fiduciary, prudent and consistent manner.” The Committee adds that, “as a general rule, the General Conference follows the ‘Prudent Investor Rule’ of maintaining a highly diversified investment portfolio using different investment strategies based on the most competent professional advice we are able to secure.”

In a review of investing practices, the Board reviewed and revised the criteria used in investing practices. At its meeting on March 20, the Corporation Board reaffirmed the following criteria for investment screening:

“We reaffirm our current investment restrictions for companies involved with or in the following industries: Alcohol, Tobacco, Gambling, Pornography, Meat Products and Caffeinated Beverages. We direct the GC Investment Committee to ensure that all investment exclusions be consistent with the use of products and services that are in keeping with our prescribed standard of practice and in keeping with Seventh-day Adventists values in practical daily living as Seventh-day Adventists.”

The Board additionally voted “that in keeping with our longstanding position on non-combatancy, we direct the GC Investment Management Committee to screen all present and potential investments in order to exclude companies whose revenues are derived primarily or substantially from the manufacture and sale of weapons, combat vehicles, munitions or other warfare systems. In addition, we direct the GC Investment Management Committee to avoid investments in any companies which are engaged in the manufacture of cluster munitions, land mines or nuclear weapons and to exclude such regardless of the proportion of company revenues or sales that these products represent.”

“As a spiritual organization, we hold ourselves accountable to ensure that our financial strategies and investments align with our established values and commitments,” said Tim Aka, GC associate treasurer responsible for the management for GC investments. “This process is ongoing and continues to be of vital importance for the Investment Office.”

The Seventh-day Adventist Church, in an Official Statement entitled ”Call for Peace which was released in 2002, declared that, “Churches should not only be known for spiritual contributions-though these are foundational-but also for their support of quality of life, and in this connection peacemaking is essential.”

“In the spirit of that Statement and as an ongoing process,” concludes Aka, “the General Conference has attempted to mitigate against such incongruous investments yet uphold their fiduciary responsibilities.”