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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

25 Years In, a Religious Fundster Preps ETFs and More

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

As a religiously-driven mutual fund entrepreneur prepares to celebrate a big anniversary, he and his team are working on new products and on broadening the reach of one of their existing offerings.

Arthur D. Ally
Timothy Plan
Founder, President
April 4 will be the 25th birthday of Timothy Partners' Timothy Plan [profile] mutual fund family, confirms Art Ally, founder and president of the Maitland, Florida-based firm. On May 18, after the firm's two-day quarterly trustees meeting, Ally and his team will host a two-hour anniversary celebration brunch at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Florida. The firm specializes in "biblically responsible investing."

Meanwhile, the Timothy team is preparing to launch their first two ETFs late next month, and Ally expects to roll out two more later in the year. Like Timothy's 13 existing mutual funds, the ETFs will be subadvised. The ETFs will also be passive, equal-weighted strategies.

"We're not duplicating any of our funds," Ally adds.

The Timothy team is also preparing to broaden the reach of one of their non-fund products, eVALUEator. The tool is a subscription-based service for financial advisors, a service that draws on Timothy's proprietary screening system and applies it to the whole mutual fund universe to show what percentage of any fund's holdings would be screened out by the biblically-inspired principals Timothy uses.

"We're working on a site that will make it available at a very basic level to the public," Ally says of eVALUEator. "Then, if they want to go deeper, they need to get with their financial consultant."

The firm now makes its biblical stewardship study course available to all online, too.

"It is our gift to America," Ally says. "Anybody can access it."

Timothy's first mutual fund, a small cap value fund, debuted on April 4, 1994, Ally says, when "nobody was thinking in terms of the moral or biblical screens."

"It took us a long time to get some traction [with investors]," Ally tells MFWire. "It was more like they were so accustomed to 'business is business and church is church.'"

The Timothy team screens out companies that they see "pursuing an unholy agenda," Ally says. That includes companies that are involved with: abortion, alcohol, anti-family entertainment, gambling, pornography, or tobacco. Today, that translates into screening out fewer than 800 of the 8,000 publicly traded companies in the U.S. that are big enough for Timothy to consider investing in. The Timothy team passes their screened out list to their subadvisors, who can then invest as they like across their categories so long as they avoid the companies screened out by the research.

"We were called to do this because we wanted to be an alternative for people who really do take these issues seriously," Ally says of Timothy's early days. "There was miracle after miracle after miracle that happened to us ... We grew slowly, but nonetheless we grew."

Fast forward to today, and Timothy now has more than $1 billion in AUM across 13 mutual funds in "every major asset class," with a five-person research team conducting the screening. The Timothy team distributes the funds primarily through financial advisors, both brokers and RIAs, and they also make their funds available directly to retail investors who reach out. 

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