Investing with Catholic Social Teaching principles in mind has come to the forefront of dioceses, Catholic organizations and individual investors. Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) is heavily relied upon for its Catholic principles based guidance on investment selection and proxy voting. In November 2021, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s (USCCB) released an updated version of its Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines. ISS’ Catholic Faith-Based Proxy Voting guidelines (Feb 2023) state that its recommendations are in line with the updated USCCB guidelines. In this whitepaper, Dr. Irene Kim and Dr. Daniel Svogun examine the extent to which the ISS Catholic-Faith Based Proxy Voting Guidelines are in line with the USCCB Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines.

They start with a short description of how the USCCB developed the most recent guidelines. Next, they emphasize ISS's vital role in interpreting these guidelines as a leading proxy voting service in the
world. Finally, in line-by-line detail, they recommend areas of improvement for the ISS guidelines, such as reducing ISS’ strong focus on corporate governance, expanding and highlighting right to life issues and ensuring that ESG goals align with Catholic Social Teaching. Specific applications include eliminating language inconsistent with the Catholic position on sex and adding precise violations of the right to life (such as euthanasia and assisted suicide). Because of the heavy reliance on ISS recommendations, this whitepaper has implications for how dioceses and other Catholic institutions use ISS guidance.

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Before joining The Catholic University of America, Dr. Kim was an assistant professor at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business and George Washington University's School of Business. Her research focuses on earnings quality and class action securities litigation. Prior to beginning her career in higher education, she worked as a CPA doing tax specialist work and personal financial planning for Deloitte & Touche LLP and KPMG Peat Marwick LLP.

Kim has presented her work at conferences around the world, including the American Accounting Association conference and the European Financial Management Association conference. She has also been awarded several fellowships, including the Deloitte & Touche Doctoral Fellowship Award.


Before joining The Catholic University of America, Dr. Svogun received his PhD in Economics from Fordham University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. While there he taught courses in Statistics and Economics with particular attention to Finance. His teaching style emphasizes clarity, solid fundamental knowledge, and, where appropriate, multiple ways to explain and think about the topic at hand.

Dr. Svogun’s research is in Finance and particularly the intersection with morality. His first funded project, completed in the Summer of 2013, examined quantitative measures of corporate morality considering the correlation to corporate financial success. His current work in Finance focuses on technical analysis and the algorithmic trading of the stock market. That research includes both the design of these algorithms and the ethical implications of their use in recent instances of financial fraud, such as their contribution to the 2010 “Flash Crash.”

Dr. Svogun has presented his research at several conferences including that of the Eastern Economics Association and the Pennsylvania Economics Association.