Losses of about 25 percent in an investment portfolio "would certainly have been in the ballpark" for "Catholic foundations, endowments and pension plans, but also corporate and public endowment plans" across the country, said Steve Schott, a managing principal at CapTrust in Miami.

WASHINGTON – The losses incurred by Catholic institutions in the stock market since last year are roughly the same as the hits taken by other investors, according to a financier who estimates he gives investment advice to more U.S. dioceses than any other firm.

Mr Schott, by his estimation, "oversee several billion (dollars) in Catholic money".

Mr Schott said following church guidelines on socially responsible investing has not hurt the bottom line of anyone’s portfolio.

The U.S. Catholic bishops’ guidelines for socially responsible investing is to help Catholic entities avoid investments in companies and organisations that engage in activities contrary to Catholic teaching.

The bishops’ guidelines cover embryonic stem-cell research, human cloning, land-mine production, biotechnical research, labour sweatshops, human rights, predatory lending, pornography and other areas.

"We have found that the results of the restricted list versus the unrestricted benchmark, for example in the S&P, actually in the last five years has had a slight positive effect," he added.

He, however, believes that over time the disparity will even out and probably be negligible in terms of the return difference between the restricted and the unrestricted lists.

- cns

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