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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Gun Debate Boosts SRI Funds

News summary by MFWire's editors

The escalating debate over gun control is driving more investors to funds with social responsibility investing mandates, while firms race to develop more of these products to meet demand, according to the The Wall Street Journal.

For example, the paper notes that earlier this month, the California State Teachers' Retirement System moved away from investing in companies tied to firearms, while a similar proposal is expected to be heard by the California Public Employees' Retirement System.

SRI funds that have benefitted from the debate include the Domini Social Equity Fund and the Ave Maria Rising Dividend Fund.

The WSJ reports that these funds, which now number more than 200, screen companies broadly relating to issues ranging from corporate governance and environmental impact to matters of faith. The sector is dominated by actively managed mutual funds, but does include a sprinkling of exchange-traded funds.

The sector has combined assets of nearly $80 billion by the end of 2012, up around 11 percent from a year earlier and 147% over the past decade, according to investment researcher Morningstar Inc.

The article also cites Tom Chapin, chief investment officer at Mill Creek Capital Advisors, who says he is turning to outside managers to build customized benchmarks for clients requiring specific SRI-focused investment portfolios.

Read more about the trend in The Wall Street Journal.  

Edited by: Tommy Fernandez

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