Indicators - Responsible Investing

For the first time ever, more than $1 trillion in assets are under management in socially and environmentally responsible portfolios, according to a November 1997 study by the nonprofit Social Investment Forum. Led by strong growth in screened portfolios and shareholder advocacy, the total volume of all responsibly invested assets climbed in the 1995-97 period from $639 billion to $1.185 trillion, an increase of 85 percent.

Social Investment Forum president Steve Schueth said, "With responsible investments consistently accounting for about one of every 10 dollars under professional management in the US, it's clear that mainstream Americans want responsible investing options."

Overall, a total of 710 major investing institutions - including pension funds, mutual fund families, community development funds, and foundations - were found to be making socially responsible investments of one type or another totalling $1.185 trillion in assets. This broad figure accounts for about 10 percent of the $13 trillion in funds under professional management in the US today.

When putting together a socially responsible portfolio for a client, an investment manager may eliminate companies involved in tobacco, gambling, or alcohol, for example, and may sidestep enterprises with substantial liabilities drawing from pollution problems or equal opportunity lawsuits.

Eighty-eight percent of the surveyed money managers indicated that they apply three or more "screens" to the funds of socially concerned investor clients. Tobacco, gambling, and alcohol top the list of avoidance screens.

For more information on the Social Investment Forum, visit their web site at or call 202/ 872-5319.
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