The Demon is in Too Deep: Clashing Orthodoxies of Investment and the Separation Thesis
A comparison of the different rationales directing financial and philanthropic investment suggests that, for many, the moral sensibility which guides philanthropic giving is set aside when investing in securities. This dichotomy in approach reflects the fact-value distinction, or Separation Thesis, which is at the heart of modern finance. This asserts that moral questions are not germane to investment decisions because such decisions deal purely with facts, primarily return and risk. However, given that shareholders have ultimate moral accountability for the activities of the companies in which they invest, this amoral approach to investment is questionable. Ben Nicka issues a call to the asset management industry to direct investment to moral ends.
Click to read the full article (PDF opens in new tab). It was first published in Faith in Business Quarterly, Volume 22.1, pages 21-25.
Ben Nicka is bi-vocational, splitting his time between accounting consultancy and theological research focused on finance ethics. He plans to spend the upcoming academic year enrolled in a Masters program at the University of Aberdeen studying theological ethics and preparing a review of contemporary approaches to the ethics of finance. After 14 years in New York City and retiring to Minnesota during the pandemic, Ben and his family are relocating to Scotland temporarily.