First Christian share index launched

Europe’s first Christian share index was launched yesterday by Stoxx Limited, a global index provider and creator of the leading European equity indices.

The Stoxx Europe Christian Index will measure the performance of 533 companies selected from the Stoxx Europe 600 Index according to the values and principles of the Christian religion.

According to The Financial Times, companies in the index include BP, HSBC, Nestlé, Vodafone, Royal Dutch Shell and GlaxoSmithKline.

It has been formed to enable investors to participate in the performance of European companies which are compliant with Christian moral and social doctrines.

“With the launch of the [index], Stoxx acknowledges the growing number of Christian market participants who wish to invest in accordance with their religious beliefs,” said Hartmut Graf, CEO.

“The new index provides a broad representation of European companies who act responsibly on an ethical, environmental, social and economical level; and are therefore in-line with Christian values.”

Excluded from the index are companies which make money from pornography, weapons, birth control and gambling.

Some of the world's largest investment funds have set up ethical funds over the past ten years in response to investor demand. They have similar goals to Christian funds but tend to be more heavily focused on the environment.

Recent funds launched have focused on climate change and take a more proactive approach, choosing companies with solutions to particular environmental issues.

To ensure the quality of the new index, an independent committee has been established, made up from experts of the Christian community, as well as members of the academic and investment community. They will review it twice a year in June and December.

Calculated in euros and dollars, the index is designed to act as a benchmark for actively managed funds.