Despite the fact that Syria has been engulfed in a civil war for the past year and a half which has already claimed more than 40,000 lives, 27 publicly-traded American companies continue to operate there. Even as Iran is supplying Syria with weapons and NBC News is reporting that the al-Assad regime is planning to unleash chemical weapons against their own people, by virtue of operating in Syria, these companies could be providing financial support to the Syrian government. Widely-held names like Bank of New York, Boeing, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Yum Brands are potentially jeopardizing shareholder value with involvement ranging from banking to Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Even beyond the moral issues of investing in companies that put dollars in the pockets of the al-Assad regime, investors in companies operating in Syria take on increased risk due to potential sanctions, asset freezes and other forms of intervention by the international community. In fact, earlier this year, we saw Standard Chartered fall by over 17% on a day when reports surfaced of the company’s role in funneling money to Iran. We could see similar drops in the stock prices of companies operating in Syria. Shareholders in these companies need to be vigilant, as do mutual fund investors whose large cap fund holdings typically include companies like Boeing, Dell and HP.
New investment tool available on most brokerage platforms
"What terror-free investing means is that the fund does not invest in any companies that do business with nations identified by the U.S. State Department as a state sponsor of terror, such as Iran, Syria, and North Korea. Langerman thinks the fund will look especially attractive to the Jewish community, which is increasingly confronted by the fact that public companies continue to do business with Iran and other countries that threaten Israel's and, indeed, America's own vital security interests"
Patriot Fund Opinion on Standard Chartered Iranian Activities
By Mark J. Langerman
Earlier this week the New York State Department of Financial Services accused Standard Chartered PLC, a UK based global banking powerhouse, of conducting illegal banking transactions with Iran. Corporate disregard for established law and international sanctions is exactly what a terror-free investing strategy aims to prevent. As both an American and a Managing Director of the Patriot Fund, I am disgusted and concerned every time a report like this comes across my desk. I’ve included some excerpts from a Wall Street Journal article published on Tuesday that detail the accusations of the Standard Chartered scheme. Additionally, I’ve provided commentary detailing why actions like this could not only lead to risk in your investment portfolio, but also national security risk for the United States. Please take some time to read the information below and consider joining us at the Patriot Fund in the terror-free investment movement.
WSJ Article; Monday, August 6, 2012
N.Y. Regulator Accuses Standard Chartered Unit of Illegal Transfers
By Liz Rappaport
Click here to read full article
In 2006 Standard Chartered’s chief executives for the Americas urged a review of Iranian business because of “"very serious or even catastrophic reputational damage" and management's exposure to "personal reputational damages and/or serious criminal liability."
The agency alleged a systematic conspiracy to falsify wire-transfer orders and to regulators. Mr. Lawsky [the NY State Dept. of FS superintendent] claimed that executives of the U.S. unit had extensive knowledge of the scheme, which allegedly lasted from 2001 to 2010.
Mr. Lawsky said the U.K. bank's subsidiary in New York made hundreds of millions of dollars in fees from its Iranian business… it processed $500 million a day in receipts for the National Iranian Oil Company, for example.
Now let me tell you why I believe you should be concerned by actions like the ones allegedly performed by Standard Chartered. I believe that corporate behavior like this causes American investors to be subject to two major risks: (1) national security risk and (2) investment portfolio risk. Let me explain...
Mark J. Langerman is Managing Director of the Patriot Fund and in this role he assists with educational initiatives to raise public awareness for Terror-Free Investing. Mr. Langerman has been nationally recognized as an expert on terror-free investing as it has gained popularity in recent years. Among other speaking engagements, he has been interviewed by media outlets such as Fox News, Investors Business Daily, and Forbes in regards to his work with terror-free investing. We’re proud to count Mark as a partner in the Patriot Fund and are pleased to share a recent interview conducted with him by the Center for Security Policy.
To download a PDF of the interview please click here.
What exactly is “terror-free” investing?
Mark Langerman: Terror Free Investing (TFI) gives people Power. One of the reasons people invest in mutual funds is to give the portfolio manager investment powers to make buy and sell decisions on their behalf. However, most people may not be aware or fully understand the implications of their choices in regards to who they invest with and how it can effect our national security and the safety of our men and women in uniform. Most people are not aware that the heavy machinery manufacturers or technology companies that they invest in through their mutual funds and retirement plans pump vital money and resources into regimes that are killing Americans through their support of terrorism. When you invest in an international conglomerate that sells everything from computer systems to technology that can be “re-purposed” for military use to Iran or Syria, you are in essence supplying them with what they need to wage their war on the West. It’s more than dollars that stream to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to do their dirty work. It is about the communications equipment that Siemens sells them that they can use to further their nuclear program or the spare plane parts that Boeing sells them to keep their planes in the air. Simply put, TFI gives people the opportunity to take a stand and actually be part of the economic war on terror, but that’s not the only benefit. We believe that terror-free investing can also reduce shareholder risk by avoiding investments in volatile, terrorism-dependent economies (countries known to have high “global security risks”). TFI is investment with a purpose, a movement meant to change corporate behavior and reward investors with a clear conscience and the potential for superior returns on their investments.
When we refer to “terror-free” investing, we’re not referring to individuals and entities on the Treasury Department’s OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) list, but rather companies that choose to give corporate life support to terrorist nations, correct?
Mark Langerman: Yes, that’s correct. These companies which now stand at over 600 globally are the lifeblood of these terrorist economies.
There has been a great deal of talk over the years that state sponsorship of terrorism was no longer the major concern because of the emergence of “transnational” terrorist groups like Al Qaeda. That’s not necessarily true is it? And even Al Qaeda has benefited from relations with these nations, correct?
Beyond today's gloom, there is hope. In fact, after Election Day, the economy and the stock market are going to catch fire.
This spring's job reports were stunningly weak. Greece is likely to exit the euro and money is cascading out of Spain. And yet ... I'm 100 percent confident that November will unleash a massive upswing in our economy.
Markets are about one thing: confidence. All those ratios and formulas that are designed to explain why the market is underpriced are nonsense. The market is always priced according to the collective wisdom about whether it's going higher. That's it. There's no such thing as a "right price" for the stock market. In 2002, when the PE multiple of the S&P 500 reached 46 — almost twice as high as it had ever been — people said it couldn't last.
They were right.
It was under 20 by the middle of the decade. And then by 2009, it was over 70. In a single decade, the PE of the entire market doubled its 130-year high, fell back to normal, more than tripled, then returned to normal again. Today it's 15.21 — a hair above its 14.45 median. This notion that there's some magic to paying between $15 and $20 for a dollar of earnings is just bull. It's all about confidence.
Mark Langerman of the Patriot Fund explains Terror-Free Investment and how terrorist organizations are getting financial backing from ordinary citizens without their knowledge. Money is the lifeline for these organizations and that money can come from mainstream companies that average Americans invest in or buy from. Part of the operating costs from Mark’s organization goes to America’s Mighty Warriors and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).
SECURE FREEDOM RADIO is a new nationally-syndicated program dedicated to the survival of American democracy in an increasingly dangerous world. It's your owner's manual for your most important possession: Your freedom. SECURE FREEDOM RADIO is a project of the CENTER FOR SECURITY POLICY in Washington, DC.
You’ve probably heard of socially responsible investing — from big funds stacking money behind green companies, fuel-efficient ventures and the like, it has become a $40 billion market across the country.
Still, I was surprised to learn that there’s a Houston firm that now offers a fund for investors who want to avoid backing companies that do business with Iran and other countries defined by the U.S. State Department as sponsors of terror.
It’s called the Patriot Fund, and it’s from Houston-based Ascendant Advisors LLC. The philosophy of the fund, which began on March 1, is pretty straight-forward: As with green tech investing or other advocacy-driven investing, there’s a "moral imperative" not to invest capital in companies that do business in countries that support terror. But it's more important than your average socially responsible fund, said Paul Wigdor, managing director of Ascendant Funds at the firm.
Large-Cap Equity Fund Pursues Terror-Free Investing in Turbulent Times
Houston, TX (PRWEB) April 26, 2012
Ascendant Advisors LLC said Tuesday that recent international events highlight the importance and relevance of its recently launched Patriot Fund. The Patriot Fund is a large-cap equity fund that limits investment in terror-related securities for individual investors concerned about the moral and financial risks of investing in companies that do business with nations on the U.S. State Department’s “State Sponsors of Terror” list.
“A quick glance at today’s headlines shows why we believe savvy investors should avoid holding stocks in their portfolio from companies that do business with countries like Iran, North Korea, Syria and Sudan,” says Paul Wigdor, Managing Director of Ascendant Funds, “Even beyond the moral issues raised by investments that might put dollars in the pockets of terrorists, investments in these nations are at increased risk due to instability, nationalization and other policy change by fiat as well as sanctions, asset freezes and other actions by the international community. Ascendant created the Patriot Fund to give individual investors a patriotically and financially sound alternative.”
Texas Investment Adviser launches "terror-free" stock fund
7:00 AM on Tue., Apr. 17, 2012
A Texas investment advisory firm has launched an investment fund that pursues a "terror-free investing strategy."
The Patriot Fund, launched by Houston-based Ascendant Advisors LLC, is a large-capitalization stock fund that limits investment in terror-related securities.
"Many individual investors are unaware that 33 companies in the S&P 500, representing more than $1.4 trillion of market capitalization, as well as hundreds of other publicly traded companies around the world, do business with nations on the U.S. State Department's 'State Sponsors of Terror' list," said Paul Wigdor, managing director of Ascendant Funds,