Investors Flock to Religious Funds

September 18, 2002 ( - US mutual fund investors found religion in great numbers in recent years, according to a poll.

The poll, commissioned by church-owned fund family MMA Praxis Mutual Funds, found that the number of religious funds skyrocketed 121% since 1999. That compares with a 16% hike in the overall number of mutual funds.

Assets in religious mutual funds also are accumulating at a rate considerably faster than that for the entire mutual fund universe, the survey found. Assets in US religious mutual funds rose from $3.65 billion in 1999 to $4.42 billion in 2002, a jump of 21%.

The new 2002 study is benchmarked to a similar 1999 MMA Praxis Mutual Funds analysis of religious mutual funds. In 2001, MMA Praxis Mutual Funds also released the results of a separate national opinion survey gauging the extent to which Americans bring their personal faith to bear in making investing and other financial decisions.

They survey also found that the face of religious mutual funds is now more diverse than it was three years ago.

Where Catholic, Lutheran and Mennonite funds dominated the religious mutual fund picture in 1999, there is now an increase in funds that are either non-denominational or focused on other faiths, including Islam and Christian Science, the survey said.