I distinctly remember, as a teenager, pensively lingering in the Fox Theater in Atlanta, Georgia after viewing the original musical version of the movie, Camelot (released in 1967). I was young, idealistic and intrigued with the notion of a society built around values like truth, justice, kindness, humility, forgiveness and other laudable virtues. King Arthur even devised a round table for his ruling body to symbolize the equality of all present. I was so taken with the movie I even memorized words to several of the songs.
At the end of the movie all seemed lost. The country was being torn apart as a result of a breakdown in values and a refusal of some to forgive others. King Arthur exhibits forgiveness, but many did not. The king was despondent at the plight of the kingdom, until a "naive" young boy gives him hope. The enthusiastic lad, Tom, clearly repeats back to a pleasantly surprised King Arthur the ideals under which Camelot was conceived and shows an resolute desire to follow these principles. Arthur realizes there is hope and encourages Tom to tell future generations to "not let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot". Our country, to many, has been a modern day representation of Camelot, and contrary to cynical opinion there ARE plently of courageous "Tom's" working diligently to keep alive the fragile dream that is America.
A central principle within Camelot was the concept of "might for right". This ideal stuck with me for years and, looking back on it was, probably, one of the founding concepts of the company I started, American Values Investments. Investment capital is the "might" and "American values" is the "right" imbedded in our company mission and vision. There is little doubt that the trillions of dollars that represent the worth of all investment capital is extremely (but not supremely) powerful and can be used for either good or ill. Why not use this "might" for "right" by finding and supporting the best examples of American values in corporate America by way of stock ownership?
It can get pretty discouraging when the "bad guys" use their "might" to perpetrate bad stuff, especially when they do it at the expense of others. But, in actuality, there ARE many groups of principled company teams in America (none perfect) trying to use their "might for right". We have been privileged to identify and invest in these reputable public companies we call American Hero Companies. Some have done well, others not so well, but ALL are trying to contribute positively to our culture. Like drops of water in a mighty ocean there are multitudes of companies, but to borrow a phrase from King Arthur, "some of them DO sparkle!"
I am also encouraged and deeply grateful to see so many investors willing to support our "might for right" vision by investing a portion of their personal assets in our American Hero Portfolios. It demonstrates there is hope for the investment industry; an industry that it does NOT HAVE to be ruled by a relentless pursuit for the last penny of profits or investment return. Also encouraging is that a "might for right" investment strategy has reasonable potential for competitive returns as evidenced by back testing and our own multi-year track record.
The "might" of our firm may be small (about 30 million in assets) compared with the billions of financial giants like Vanguard, Fidelity or Merrill Lynch. Nevertheless, I trust we are an encouragement to the companies we support (invest in), the investors we serve, and the country (whose culture we are trying to influence) we love.