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Holy Rollers: Another ETF Of Biblical Inspiration

ETF Professor

The universe of socially responsible investing ideas is expanding with a growing number of exchange traded funds focusing on religious values. Another such fund appeared Wednesday with the debut of the James Biblically Responsible Investment (CBOE: JBRI).

The new ETF is a multifactor fund and tracks the eVALUEator Biblically Responsible Index. That benchmark was “created to screen stocks within the S-Network US Equity Large/Mid-Cap 1000 Index and, using eight different criteria, filter out any objectionable stocks from a biblical perspective,” according to James Investment Research, JBRI's issuer. 

Traditional funds, including ETFs, adhering to environmental, social and governance principles usually exclude alcohol and tobacco makers and companies engaged in gambling and pornography. JBRI does that as well, but goes further by screening out companies with exposure to abortion, what the issuer deems alternative lifestyle and producers of anti-family entertainment.

More Details On The New ETF

“The James ranking system using relative value, relative strength and profitability, is then applied to the remaining companies from an initial universe of 1,000,” according to James Investment Research. “The resulting ETF consists of the 100 top-ranked companies remaining after the screens. The holdings are then equal-weighted, with every company beginning each quarter after the rebalance at 1 percent.”

Fifty-seven percent of JBRI's index are large-caps, while the remainder are mid-caps. James Investment Research has more than four decades as an active manager of values-based products. At the end of the third quarter, the firm had $5.1 billion in assets under management.

JBRI allocates almost 19 percent of its weight to the industrial sector and 16.4 percent to technology stocks. The health care and energy sectors combine for over 27 percent of the new ETF's roster.

The Competition 

Several religiously focused ETFs have come to market this year. In November, California-based Inspire Investing bolstered its lineup of Christian values ETFs with the launch of the Inspire 100 ETF (NYSE: BIBL).

Earlier in 2017, Inspire launched the Global Hope Large Cap ETF (NYSE: BLES) and the Inspire Small/Mid Cap Impact ETF (NYSE: ISMD).

The Global X S&P 500 Catholic Values ETF (NASDAQ: CATH), which launched in April 2016, now has $126.5 million in assets under management.

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