SRI Pioneer First Affirmative Financial Network Sets New Thresholds for Gun-Related Securities in Its Managed Accounts Program

MCLEAN, Va. and COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., June 18, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — First Affirmative Financial Network, one of the largest advisory firms that specializes in sustainable, responsible and impact (SRI) investing, announced today it has taken two significant steps intended to help dramatically reduce gun violence in the United States.

“Our communities are experiencing unprecedented levels of gun violence. Enough is enough. First Affirmative will continue to avoid investment products that hold positions in firearm manufacturers, and has added screens to avoid retailers that do not meet high standards of care in the sale of these products,” said George Gay, CEO of First Affirmative, which manages more than $1 billion in screened SRI assets. First Affirmative was established in 1998, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of brokerage, custody, clearing and FinTech firm FOLIOfn, Inc.

First Affirmative has taken the following steps in an effort to dramatically reduce gun violence in the United States:

1) The firm’s investment committee has compiled a list of all investments that, either via direct participation, participation via subsidiaries or participation via global distribution agreements, are involved in the manufacture or sale of handguns, sporting rifles, military-style assault weapons or accessories that enable rapid-fire capability for possible divestment and/or exclusion from the firm’s managed account program buy lists.

2) First Affirmative has also joined a broad coalition of 43 investment firms— representing $54 billion in assets under management —that asked credit card companies and banks to review their connections to the gun industry (read the letter here). The coalition has reached out to three leading credit card companies and 18 major banks that lend to firearm and ammunition manufacturers, or that have large merchant processing capabilities tied to the manufacture or sale of same, with the following request:

  • Explain their direct exposure to firearms manufacturers or distributors, or indirect exposure through credit merchant activities.
  • Disclose the steps it is taking to understand and mitigate the risks associated with any exposure to firearms.
  • Add sales restrictions to merchant credit processing agreements by July 31, 2018 that, at a minimum, do the following:
  • Prohibit the sale of high capacity magazines or clips capable of holding in excess of 10 rounds of ammunition and other accessories that enable rapid fire capability, including bump stocks, trigger cranks and “hellfire” triggers.
  • Require all merchants to restrict firearms sales for buyers under age 21.
  • Require all merchants who sell firearms to do so only to customers who have passed a universal background check, regardless of the sale venue.

“Our firm is well known for creating and managing investment portfolios that meet the unique needs of socially conscious investors,” Gay added. “First Affirmative believes – and our clients agree – that gun violence in our country must come to an end. We will use the power of our portfolios to help make this happen.”

First Affirmative is also the founder of The SRI Conference, the longest-running gathering of professionals who are passionate about, engaged in and/or who just want to learn more about SRI investing. This annual event, and its regional programs, provide advisors and other investment professionals with practical information about giving clients more SRI investment options – including how to create portfolios that help to end gun violence – and how to grow their firm with SRI.