Monday, February 4, 2019

Book Review: 'In God We Trust: Morally Responsible Investing' by George P. Schwartz and Michael O. Kenney

In God We Trust by George P. Schwartz
‘For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.’ Matthew 6:21

Michigan author George P. Schwartz, CFA has written three books that address both our economy and our humanity, a strong Catholic and proponent of ethical living and investing. He is Founder, Chairman and CEO of Schwartz Investment Counsel, Inc., a Registered Investment Adviser headquartered in Plymouth, Michigan. His company manages stock and bond investment portfolios for institutions, foundations, individuals and mutual funds, including Ave Maria Mutual Funds, the world’s largest family of Catholic mutual funds. His co-author Michael O. Kenney, JD earned his degrees form University of Notre Dame and is a writer and educator in addition to his busy career as an attorney. 

George is a man of strong beliefs and convictions and shares his thoughts on the manner in which we are dealing with the economic stagnation and the influence of government control of the market and the way we view investments. In a manner that is accessible he surveys the effects of socialism vs. capitalism – sharing how the concept of socialism is doomed whereas the capitalism mindset offers financial security when ethical investments serve as the source of solid income and moral responsibility.

In his Introduction George states, ‘Wise investment management is a moral imperative, Why? Because prudent investing is essential to meeting future needs and community needs, particularly through charitable giving. But there is another, perhaps more subtle moral dimension. When we invest in a company, we become an owner, and our investment contributes to the company’s success. Are we comfortable with what we own? Does the enterprise reflect our core beliefs? If not, what opportunities exist to invest in a manner that does reflect these beliefs. This book is about participating in the capital markets in a purposeful, reasoned, and ethical way to achieve legitimate investment objectives and avoid morally objectionable businesses.’

This book is rich in the history of George’s own experience in founding his investment firm that assists clients in morally responsible investments. The book addresses stingingly controversial factors such as pro-life (anti-abortion) and the proliferation of pornography – “Abortion and pornography gravely undermine the dignity of the human person.’ While some readers may not agree with these stances, the case that George makes is more focused on aiding the cause of ethical and moral responsibility in the Catholic tradition. And in personalizing his beliefs he shares many photographs of his growth as a human being as well as his stature in the realm of the economic realm. Or as a note on his website states, ‘As a lover of the free enterprise system and a portfolio manager, George Schwartz chronicles how Morally Responsible Investing is helping long-term investors put their money to work in accordance with their moral beliefs.’

This is a strong book for everyone to reconsider how investing morally can increase financial wealth while making the world more compassionate and ethical.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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