Many people with retirement accounts pay close attention to how their money is growing for the future. But not as many have thought carefully about the products and activities that their investment dollars are supporting right now.
That includes Christians, who often don’t realize that their investment dollars regularly end up funding industries that contradict biblical values — a disconnect that professor and investment analyst Shane Enete is eager to remedy through his research.
Through his research and leadership, the Crowell School of Business professor aims to help Christians understand and deal with the dilemma of investing in mutual funds or stock products that fund activities which go against core Christian values — things like the tobacco industry, the harvesting of stem cells, adult entertainment or abortion clinics.
“I think investing is a part of our hearts, and I think to disconnect where our money is going to where our values are is to become a fractured person,” Enete said. “So for the sake of integrity, I want to make sure that people are investing in a way consistent to their values, and that’s what this area of research is all about.”
In addition to his teaching role at Biola, Enete has worked part-time on the investment council as an analyst for Inspire Investing and helped to bring two new Biblically Responsible Investment products to the market. He also recently worked to establish the Biola University Inspire Research Institute for Biblically Responsible Investing, a partnership that provides resources to Christian investors. Enete’s work was recognized in 2017 when he and Biola alumnus Aaron Moon (’15) had the honor of ringing the New York Stock Exchange closing bell.
His latest research aims to highlight the effects of Christian investors utilizing authority in large corporations to bring sustainable internal policy reform. Instead of solely relying on negative screening tactics or divesting, Enete is passionate about the idea of maintaining Christian ownership in companies that have demonstrated biblically unethical investments and argues that this more fully demonstrates the culture-shaping power of the gospel.
“I think the most exciting thing that I’m going to research is ... the idea of the power of engaging companies,” Enete said. “I think that is really exciting and I’d love to show that that has good impact. ... Just this idea of being a voice for culture, using the power that we already have that we aren’t using right now.”
In his article “Inspired Investing: An Introduction to Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI),” Enete gives three examples of policy changes at Hilton Hotels, Home Depot and General Mills accomplished by pressure from Christian investors who decided to engage corporations for positive change instead of simply divesting in them.
Ultimately, Enete hopes to challenge all Christians to live a financially Jesus-centric lifestyle.
“I’m wanting the very core of investing to be integrated with your faith.”