Faith on the Barrelhead

Americans are keeping the faith today in many different ways—including how they invest. "The troubling times of the last year have had the effect of forcing many Americans to confront the way in which they lead their lives," says Rusty Leonard, CEO of Stewardship Partners Investment Counsel. "This soul searching has resulted in a new generation of religious investors." While Catholics, Lutherans, and Mennonites dominated the religious mutual fund field in 1999, now the index includes the Dow Jones Islamic Index Fund and the Christian Science fund, American Trust Allegiance. Here are some recent findings:

The number of U.S. religious mutual funds surged from 34 in 1999 to 75 in 2002—an increase of 121 percent. (The growth in the number of mutual funds of all types was just 16 percent.)

Assets in all U.S. mutual funds (religious and nonreligious) edged up from $4.3 billion in 1999 to $4.8 billion in 2002—a growth of only 11 percent.

Assets in U.S. religious funds rose from $3.65 billion in 1999 to $4.42 billion in 2002—a jump of 21 percent.

Source: Mennonite Mutual Aid Praxis Mutual Funds (2002).

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