Religious mutual funds 'increasing in popularity'

18 September 2006

An increasing number of US investors are choosing religion over returns and putting their money in faith-based mutual funds, according to reports.

Mutual funds that invest according to religious principles currently take up only a tiny proportion of the US's mutual fund industry, the Chicago Tribune reports, but niche investment market has been growing steadily in recent years.

Indeed, according to figures from investment research firm Morningstar, religious mutual funds have increased their assets under management significantly – up to $16 billion this year, compared with just $2.37 billion in 2000.

Catholic funds appear to be particularly popular, with investors apparently anxious to avoid investing in companies that promote abortion or the use of contraceptives.

"There are more faith-based mutual funds out there than five years ago, and the ones that have been around have gathered a lot of assets,'' Morningstar mutual fund analyst David Kathman told the Chicago Tribune.

"There has been an upswing in religious feeling in this country, with the culture wars and a lot of people trying to emphasize their religion more in the current political climate, and one of the ways to do that is through investing.''

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