Social Investment Forum: Two Thirds of Socially Responsible Mutual Funds Outperformed Benchmarks During 2009 Economic Downturn

Jan 21, 2010, 11:00 ET from Social Investment Forum, Washington, D.C.

Social Investment Forum Also Unveils New "Mutual Fund Performance Chart" for Investors

WASHINGTON, Jan. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The verdict on SRI mutual fund performance is in:  A review of 160 socially responsible mutual funds from 22 members of the Social Investment Forum (SIF) finds that the vast majority of the funds -- 65 percent -- outperformed their benchmarks in calendar year 2009, most by significant margins.

These SRI funds topped benchmarks across nearly all asset classes, including balanced, large cap, small cap and global funds, as well as bonds.  The performance data that was analyzed by the Social Investment Forum covered all of 2009 and was provided by an independent third party, Thomson Reuters.

Particular standouts on SRI mutual fund performance were the 73 large cap funds, the largest single category of SIF member funds, where nearly three out of four (72.6 percent) outperformed the S&P 500.  On average, large cap SRI funds bested the S&P 500 by more than 6 percentage points.  A majority of the large cap funds offered by SIF members also outperformed the S&P 500 over three years and over 10 years.    (See full table of results at http://www.socialinvest.org/resources/factsheets_resources/documents/123109SIFFundPerformance.pdf.)

"This analysis underscores the reality that socially responsible investments offer what are genuinely competitive returns," said Cheryl Smith, chairman of the board at SIF and president at Boston-based Trillium Asset Management Corporation.  "In fact, the 2009 data show that SRI funds specializing in large cap stocks have turned in an extremely strong performance that outpaced the S&P 500 over both the short term and the long term."    

The 22 fund families represented in the SIF analysis are: Access Capital Strategies; AHA; Appleseed; Ariel; Azzad; Calvert; Community Capital Management; Domini; Gabelli; Green Century; Integrity; Legg Mason; Meeder Asset Management; MMA Praxis; Neuberger Berman; New Alternatives; Parnassus; Pax World; Portfolio 21; Sentinel; Walden; and Winslow.

Today, SIF also unveiled its revamped Mutual Fund Performance Chart for retail investors at  http://www.socialinvest.org/resources/mfpc/.   The new and improved chart allows interested investors to learn more about SRI mutual funds based on asset class, performance record, approaches to environmental, social and governance (ESG or sustainability) issues, proxy voting guidelines, and other investment criteria.  

For example, the Chart shows that more than 50 percent of SIF member mutual funds consider companies' executive pay practices when developing their portfolios, and more than two-thirds look for companies with good records on climate change issues and community development.  Virtually all exclude tobacco companies altogether from their portfolios or restrict their involvement in such firms.  (See full table of results at http://www.socialinvest.org/resources/factsheets_resources/documents/123109SIFFundPerformance.pdf.)

Lisa Woll, CEO, Social Investment Forum said: "In the wake of the financial crisis more and more consumers are concerned about runaway executive pay practices and other forms of corporate misconduct and sustainability risks.  The SIF's Mutual Fund Performance Chart allows retail investors to explore which SRI funds incorporate these and other sustainability issues into their investing and proxy voting practices."  

For a detailed breakdown of issues weighed by SIF member mutual funds, go to https://www.socialinvest.org/resources/mfpc/screening.cfm.

ABOUT SOCIAL INVESTMENT FORUM

The Social Investment Forum (http://www.socialinvest.org) is the U.S. national nonprofit membership association for professionals, firms and organizations dedicated to advancing the practice and growth of socially responsible investing.  Critical to responsible investment practice is the consideration of environmental, social and corporate governance criteria in addition to standard financial analysis.  Nearly 400 SIF members support SRI through portfolio selection analysis, shareholder advocacy and community investing.

SOURCE Social Investment Forum, Washington, D.C.



RELATED LINKS

http://www.socialinvest.org