Most people have not heard of Ave Maria Mutual Funds, but if you are a religious person, then you should try to look them up. Ave Maria funds are mutual funds that attempt to invest in financially sound companies that also do not have any practices that violate any tenets of the Roman Catholic Church. It is a way to practice socially or morally sound investing, as investors do not have to worry that they are investing in any companies that perform practices that they don’t believe in or don’t want to support.
In order to pick companies that fit this profile, companies are first screened according to the financial information and how successful they are. After that, they are screened out if they practice or support anything that violates principles of the Catholic Church, especially if they support abortion in any way. Other examples would be companies that in anyway undermine the family, such as the distribution of pornography by the company or support of things that undermine the sacrament of marriage as between a man and a woman.
The Ave Maria Growth Fund is rated a four-star fund by Morningstar. The goal of the fund is to accumulate long-run capital appreciation, meaning it will invest in companies that have the potential to create profits and revenues over the long-run. It was started in May of 2003, and currently has almost $110 million in assets. Morningstar rates it as generally going after medium sized companies, and it has an expense ratio of 1.50%.
Over the past five years, it has been up one year and down one year, in 2008. Over that time it has a rate of return of 2.42%, though the number is over 18% for the year to date. Over the past year it has performed slightly worse than other funds in its category, but it has outperformed those same funds over the past five years.
Ideally, Ave Maria Mutual Funds would like to acquire more and more capital, so that it could eventually have enough in assets to have influence on the companies it invests in in order to steer them toward Catholic values. While they are a ways off from there, they are a great option to look at if you are religious and want to invest your money in a way that you know will be good for society and good for your conscience.