It is refreshing to see a few folks who know where they stand in issues even though others think I am a troll and those who respond are "fools."
A few years ago I read something which discussed Plan B pills. I was a bit dismayed to find out that Pfizer (a stock I owned at the time) was a manufacturer of these pills. I don't get bent out of shape about much and I don't really worry about social responsibility in investing, but abortion is not something I can have any kind of part in to include owning the stock of a company who profits off of selling Plan B pills. I liquidated my position in this stock the next day. As for the rest of my situation above- it remained the same. I have never cared much about owning tobacco, casinos, alcohol or whatever stocks. If it makes money I ma open to owning it.
Fast forward to this summer (someone above brought this up) I read a SLT article about $32B in stocks portfolios owned by the LDS Church. I though hey that's pretty cool. They don't hire idiots I'm curious what they are into. I always figured they had a good portfolio somewhere, but since all the finances are a secret even from the members, we can only guess. I took this source in the paper with a grain of salt and I had never been to their website before. So off I went, followed the links and read what they had to say. I took a random sampling of the companies they claimed to be owned by the church and went to their SEC Filings (13F which are required for holdings of $100 Million or more) and verified they were indeed tied to the church to include company contact persons who were employees of the church. These docs are not leaks, they are public record. I do have to say, they were hiding in plain sight. Why they are in random names and "controlled" by some low level employee at the Church HQ is a question for another day though.
I checked out the disclosed portfolios because I wanted to see what they invested in. The church hires pretty good talent and I figured I'd get some good ideas looking around in there. Investing is not only a hobby of mine, but I have built a sizeable portfolio over the years. Since I have studied many companies I am familiar with a lot of names and ticker symbols. I am also familiar with the general business these companies are either known for or at least involved in.
I will have to say I was surprised to see the companies I listed in my initial post on this. They do have many other positions which are not controversial. As I stated, I own them all except for the Pfizer one which I did liquidate. These portfolios are purpose built meaning they are not just some mutual fund round-up. These are individual stock selections with most being worth at least a few million each. These positions are no accident. Someone selected them for a reason. Now there are a few SP500 index funds in there and those contain pretty much every company listed in the SP500. Those are essentially mutual funds which are traded like a stock.
I was actually surprised to see many of the positions there as their companies are clearly in certain businesses. There is merit to being in them from a purely investment standpoint, but one has to ask whether or not morals or stated morals have a place in investing. Me- if it is abortion, Monsanto and now Nike I wont invest in it. Before I invest in any stock I investigate it. If I don't believe in the business I do not buy it. Whoever put these portfolios together for the church selected these stocks for a reason. It definitely was not a case of just being random. People in this business also know what these companies are and what they do. This is why I was taken a bit by surprise. Why would the church knowingly profit off of this stuff? As a stock holder, you are the owner of that piece of the company.
On to the stocks-
Altria(MO) - Tobacco such as Marlboro, Copenhagen. They also own a wine business and a large stake in AMBEV (Budweiser)
Constellation Brands (STZ)- Mega importer of Mexican Beers. They also own various wineries AND..... a very large stake in a MARIJUANA company in Canada (Canopy Growth)
Crown Holdings (CCK) - Mostly produce packaging for Beer, Coffee and Tea. Also produces aerosol cans for various health and beauty products. This company isnt so bad.
The Wynn Hotel - Casino
Cruise Ships - Casino
Credit Cards- they make their money on enticing people to become indebted to them. Our bisops have cut up tens of thousands of credit cards of people you and I are having to donate fast offerings for. These companies prey on desperate people. I don't on individual positions of credit cards, but they are in my 401K funds.
Pfizer (PFE)- Cytotec abortion pill
Starbucks (SBUX)- Coffee.
Rockwell Automation - This is a cool company. Read up on their systems which help Breweries make their beer production of a higher quality and quantity. They do a lot of other stuff too, but the brewery thing was pretty cool.
L Brands - Before the internet, the source of many a deacons porn stash. Victoria's Secret. Im pretty sure a certain kind of underwear isnt found there. Women can lose a recommend for wearing this in lieu of u know what.
Brown Foreman - Producer of hard liquor for sale in 160 countries. My fav back in the day was JD.
I don't recall if the Mariott Hotel was on the list, but they definitely dig the casino business overseas. I have been in them before.
OK so here we are. So is investing in this stuff kosher to you personally? I have no problem with it, but I also don't have a problem with many of the activities. I am curious if folks have a problem investing in this stuff. Personally I don't, but I also don't publish standards of conduct and health codes which are lets say exactly opposite of these investments.
A few of you know exactly where you stand without knowing much about this probably. You stated your position, I stated mine. Others? Now that we know the church owns them (well 99% sure) you can finally decide what you think. Maybe.