MUMBAI, India, Jan. 15, 2008 — Dow Jones Indexes, a leading global index provider, and Dharma Investments, a leading private investment firm pioneering the development of faith-based investment, today announced the launch of the Dow Jones Dharma Indexes. The new indexes measure the performance of companies selected according to the value systems and principles of Dharmic religions, especially Hinduism and Buddhism.
The Dow Jones Dharma Index series includes the Dow Jones Dharma Global Index, as well as four country indexes for the U.S., the U.K., Japan and India. The indexes are designed to underlie financial products such as exchange-traded funds and other investable products that enable investors to participate in the performance of companies which are compliant with Dharmic religious traditions.
“The Dow Jones Dharma Indexes are the first faith-based indexes created to measure Dharma compliant equities. As faith-based and socially responsible investing continues to grow worldwide, our goal is to provide the investment community with the most comprehensive benchmarks that comply with these principles,” said Michael A. Petronella, president of Dow Jones Indexes. “The launch of the new Dow Jones Dharma Indexes marks a major step in our effort to further expand our range of faith-based indexes. Dow Jones Indexes pioneered this space by launching the Dow Jones Islamic Market Indexes in 1999 — today the leading Islamic market indexes worldwide.”
“We are honored to be serving a demand for faith-based investing,” said Nitesh Gor, CEO of Dharma Investments. “India and Asia have made remarkable advances economically over the last few years and in parallel we believe that bringing our religious values onto the global stage offers sustainable solutions to the problems facing the world today. The principle of Dharma contains precepts relevant to good conduct, but also the implicit requirement of mindfulness about the sources of wealth — and therefore responsible investing,” he added. “The Dow Jones Dharma Index brings together a combination of environmental, social, governance and traditional sin sector filters. As such, the Index is unique and will not just have appeal to the religious, but to a far broader audience as well. We are also very grateful to the broad array of the most eminent spiritual leaders within the Dharma religions for their continuing involvement and blessings. Their endorsement of this Index gives us great confidence in its authority and eventual success.”
The index universe for the Dow Jones Dharma Indexes is defined as the top 5,000 components of the Dow Jones Wilshire Global Total Market Index as measured by float adjusted market capitalization, and all components in the Dow Jones Wilshire India Index. To be included in the Dow Jones Dharma Indexes, stocks must pass a set of industry, environmental, corporate governance and qualitative screens for Dharmic compliance.
Industry screens include unacceptable sectors and business practices. Environmental screens take account of a company’s impact or policies with respect to emissions, climate change and carbon footprint analysis, oil and chemical spills and waste management and recycling. Corporate Governance screens comprise the handling of labor relations/disputes/discrimination allegations, human rights violations, working conditions/wages.
Excluded from the index are companies from sectors that are deemed unacceptable due to the nature of their business activities and operations. Excluded are also companies that have exposure to unacceptable business practices. Some examples of unacceptable sectors are aerospace and defense, brewers, casinos and gaming, pharmaceuticals, tobacco. Some examples for unacceptable business practices are alcohol, adult entertainment, animal testing and genetic modification of agricultural products.
To ensure the quality of the indexes and the integrity of the underlying index methodology, three boards were established to define, build and implement the screening criteria: the Dow Jones Dharma Academic Advisory Committee, the Dow Jones Dharma Supervisory Board and the Dow Jones Dharma Religious Council.
The Dow Jones Dharma Academic Advisory Committee provides guidance and establishes the principles for the methodology. Members include:
The Dow Jones Dharma Supervisory Committee interprets the principles and creates and implements the screening criteria in accordance with the methodology. Members include:
The Dow Jones Dharma Religious Council ratifies and endorses the established guidelines and methodology. Members include:
In 2007, the Dow Jones Dharma Global Index gained 6.21%; the Dow Jones Dharma India Index gained 81.22%, the Dow Jones Dharma Japan Index was down 4.79%; the Dow Jones Dharma U.K. Index was down 10.11%, the Dow Jones Dharma U.S. was down 3.62% in the same time frame.
The Dow Jones Dharma Indexes are weighted by free-float adjusted market capitalization. The indexes are reviewed annually in June. Daily history is available back to December 31, 2002. The Dow Jones Dharma Indexes are calculated in U.S. Dollar (USD), British Pound (GBP), Japanese Yen (JPY) and Indian Rupee (INR). For more information, please visit http://www.djindexes.com.
Journalists may e-mail questions regarding this press release to PR-Indexes@dowjones.com or contact Dow Jones Indexes/STOXX press office: New York: +1-212-597-5720, Frankfurt: +49-69-29-725-290
About Dharma Investments
Launched publicly in January 2008, Dharma Investment’s primary mission is the development of Hindu and Buddhist faith-based investing. Dharma Investments brings together a variety of expertise, a deep academic and practical knowledge of the Dharmic religions, investment management, retail and institutional financial product sales and marketing. The company’s principle product, the Dow Jones Dharma Index, is designed to fill the requirements of a range of investors Hindus, Buddhists (and potentially Jain’s and Sikhs) whose religions have as a central tenet the concept of ‘dharma’ and will therefore find resonance in the investment premises. Equally a broader range of ethical investors will value the unique combination of traditional ’sin sector’, environmental, corporate governance and animal testing screens that are the basis of the Dow Jones Dharma Indexes. The development of the Dow Jones Dharma Indexes marks the collaboration of Dharma Investments, Dow Jones Indexes and leading academics, spiritual leaders and theologians from around the world.