Guns (Again)

Mark Bateman - December 9, 2015

In the wake of the San Bernadino shooting on December 2, the New York Times reported that, on average, one mass shooting occurs every day, that’s four or more people wounded or killed in a single incident.   Last month, in my post “Guns and Investors“, I asked the question:  “If one of your clients asks whether she is invested in firearms, how are you going to answer her question?”  The line of investors seeking to divest from guns is getting longer.

On December 4, two days after the California massacre, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio called for divestment of firearms manufacturers by the city’s pension funds.  He’s certainly not the first to suggest such a step.  In June, the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) divested from gun manufacturers, and many others have done the same.

On October 5,  CNN Money reported gun stocks were up 70 percent in 2015.  It’s a familiar cycle to see played out in the news:  1) mass shooting, 2) calls for gun control, 3) reports that gun sales soar on fear new restrictions will be imposed.  Tagging a fourth step—“gun stocks surge”—fits the pattern.  It is so predictable that one almost wonders if mass shootings have become a buy signal in the stock market.

A buy signal.  Is that opportunity?  Or is that frightening?

So what is your responsibility to your clients?  Do you promote investments in guns because of the financial upside?  Do you suggest mutual funds and ETFs that investment in civilian firearms because it shows a good investment philosophy?

If asked, can you help find gun-free investment options?

If you’re not familiar with the ENSOGO® Analytics fund report, get a free sample.  Exposure to firearms, manufacturing and retail sales, is one of 14 negative screening issues presented on the report.

For those investors saddened and sickened by the spate of recent shootings, they may be ready to change their own investment behavior to reflect their deeply held personal beliefs.

Are you prepared to help them?