Sister Nicole Rielle, a 73 year old Parisian Nun, is on a formidable mission. She serves as the financial strategist behind the country’s first ethical investment funds, The New York Times reports.

For two decades, Sister Nicole has been telling her fellow sisters that they are better off taking their dwindling funds out of real estate and placing them in stocks and bonds, carefully picked to conform, where possible, with humanist values.

Already 80 religious orders in France have put their faith, and their money, into the two funds she has created with a Paris bank.

Now her mission will take her to Rome, where the sister is moving to proselytize among the many religious orders that have their headquarters there and, like her own, often face growing financial problems in an increasingly secular West.

Sister Nicole asserts after having addressed a banking conference in Milan: "The bankers, even Vatican bankers, sounded surprised. They think ethical investing means being correct in their business dealings. I tell them no, it means that human development must be the center and the goal of all economic activity. I tell them that they must take on more social responsibility. For many, it seems a new idea."

For her, ethical investing means buying stocks in the companies that have the best records in caring for their staff, providing training, minimizing pollution and waste, and developing a fair policy toward the community, especially in poor countries. It also means avoiding stocks in tobacco, alcohol and weapons.

Today, the two funds, joined since by private investors, have a combined worth of close to $70 million. They have earned an average of 8% per year, although since 2000, they have lost 30% since 2000.


The staff of Mutual Fund Market News ("MFMN") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MFMN, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.

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