App launched to make it easier for Catholics to invest with consistency

*Published on El Debate on 11/02/2022. Accessed in: https://bit.ly/3gSgQPf

Altum is a Faithful Investing company that analyzes more than 3,500 companies in the areas of respect for human dignity, promotion of the family, defense of life and care for the environment.

Financial advisory firm Altum has published a free mobile app that allows users to identify which companies carry out their business without contravening the teachings of the Catholic Church. Altum App collects data from more than 3,500 of the world’s leading companies and aims to bring anyone with a smartphone closer to the criteria for investing in a manner consistent with the Catholic faith.

«When we single out a company, it is because we have evidence, in many cases provided by themselves,» says Altum’s founder, Borja Barragán. The four criteria that guide Altum’s analysis, as stated on the company’s website, are respect for human dignity, promotion of the family, defense of life and care for the environment. App users can review the position of individual companies in each area through filtering by country and sector.

Google, Colgate and BBVA at the bottom of the list

Barragán welcomes the fact that these criteria allow objective conclusions to be drawn: «Either you are involved in the abortion industry, or you are not; either you do research with human embryos, or you don’t,» he says. By collecting this data, Altum App allows the investor or consumer to discern which companies conflict with consistent Christian living – for example, Google, Amazon and Coca-Cola – and to discover alternatives in the same sector or country.

However, Altum App also lists many companies that do not present problems from this perspective: «Some people think that having moral criteria in this field implies eliminating the majority of companies in which to invest, but these data disprove this,» says Barragán.

Abortion and religious freedom

The analysis of companies represents only half of what the application offers: the Altum team has also developed two complete interactive maps on the defense of life and religious freedom. They show the legislation on abortion in each country – meticulously reviewing the rules in each case – and the extent to which religious freedom is respected, based on the latest report by Aid to the Church in Need.

The data collected are useful for investors considering investing in government bonds, and lead to the conclusion, for example, that only 18 of the 178 countries surveyed maintain both a total ban on abortion and an optimal position regarding religious freedom. Spain is not among them, but Andorra, Hong Kong, and the Vatican City are included in this list.

Investing consistently, with faith

«Most of our clients are religious institutions with significant wealth, but we believe that Faithful Investment should be for everyone,» explains Barragán, and highlights that «there is an alternative». «We would like app users to ask their banks to offer them financial products to invest in a faith-consistent way,» he stresses.

Altum App has only been available for a short time, and over the next few months the company wants to receive and implement feedback from the public. In the meantime, its creators recall the words of Pope St. John Paul II: «Investing in one place and not in another,”  wrote the Polish pontiff in the encyclical Centesimus Annus, “is always a moral choice».

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