Once your Wealth Management plan is developed an additional consideration must be made. Are there certain investments you would like to avoid or seek out because of your specific values? If so, you’re not alone. More and more people are investing so that their investment makes a positive improvement in our world. This is commonly called Socially Responsible Investing (SRI).
SRI is where an investor not only considers the financial strength of an investment but also its impact on the broader world. Most SRIs include some form of screening. Screens are typically either:
- Negative which exclude companies whose activities violate the client’s values. These commonly include companies in the defense, gambling, liquor and tabacco industries, but can include many others.
- Positive which seeks out companies with good records for some activity like environmental stewardship, labor relations, board diversity and human rights.
Social Responsible Investing is done using various investment vehicles including individual stock, mutual funds, exchange traded funds (ETF) and separately managed accounts. Each has different screening techniques and gives you differing levels of diversification and control over the investments.
Some of these investment vehicles allow you to exclude specific companies that may not be covered by various screens applied to the account. This is useful if your values include an aversion to certain industries that many others don’t avoid or if you already own a large position in a specific company due to your employment or legacy investment.
Social Responsible Investing for some includes community investing where you invest in institutions that serve communities underserved by traditional financial intuitions. This provides access to credit, equity, capital and basic banking products that these communities would otherwise lack. This allows for local organizations to provide financial services to supply capital for small businesses and vital community services such as affordable housing, child care and health care.