What would you like us to do with the funds you've selected
This shows the number of portfolios you hold. Portfolios can be constructed from Unit Trusts & OEICs,IMA Unit Trusts & OEICs,Investment Trusts,Pension Funds,Life Funds,Offshore Funds,Exchange Traded Funds and cash. Holdings and acquisition costs can be recorded so that profits/losses can be calculated. These can be calculated in terms of a number of base currencies. Overall portfolio values, as well as portfolio constituents, can be made the subject of alerts.
You have one watchlist, and this shows you the number of items currently stored in the watchlist. Items stored here do not have holdings records, so this list simply monitors the price of items held, which can also be subject to alerts
This is designed to be a temporary collection of items selected by you for further analysis in the tools section. Items can be subsequently transferred from the Basket to the Watchlist or Portfolio.
Have you been allocating more to cash or equities, given signs of rising risks?
Along with the growth in the number of funds available in the ethical investment
market, there is also an increase in the demand for ethical products. Investment
providers now offer products for all types of ethical investor.
Shades of Green
Ethical funds have many different investment objectives. To make your investment choice easier many groups use a system to categorise their investment style. The main categories are dark green and light green, some groups also refer to a fund as medium green. Many believe that this system has widened the appeal of ethical funds.
Dark green funds use the strictest investment criteria. Suited to investors with strong ethical beliefs, investment usually excludes the largest companies in the UK. This type of fund shuns companies involved in such activities as animal testing, tobacco and arms manufacture. Investment in oil, pharmaceuticals and banking is also very limited. Fund managers of dark green funds would employ a negative screening process. The AEGON Ethical Fund is an example of a dark green fund; and has moved from being 'vegetarian' to 'vegan.' This means producers or retailers of meat, fish and dairy products will be automatically excluded from the fund – which even extends to chocolate manufacturers such as Nestlé, which makes KitKats, and Cadbury.
Light green funds use a positive approach to portfolio selection. Although these funds are still opposed to those companies involved in areas such as animal testing and tobacco, they do consider investment in mainstream companies that have shown an improvement in their environmental or social policies. For example, an oil company, rejected by a dark green fund could be considered for a light green portfolio if the company had taken positive action to help the environment, such as the use of solar power. This approach is commonly termed 'best of sector' or 'best of class'. These funds are considered a less risky investment due to the increased number of companies available to light green fund managers to choose from when investing.
There has been a renewed investor interest in ethical investment in recent years. Public awareness of environmental and social issues has been heightened, which has prompted some change in government attitudes.
In July 2000 the government’s introduction of pension fund regulation required pension fund trustees to disclose the extent to which ethical, social and environmental factors are considered when making investment decisions; the first time that a government had imposed such a rule.
There have also been developments in the investment process of ethical funds. While the traditional negative and positive screening approach is still used by many ethical products, other concepts have started to emerge from this new investment environment. Engagement is an attempt by fund managers to engage the companies in which they invest in a discussion about their social and environmental policies. For example, if a fund invests in a company that is involved in arms manufacture, engagement does not ask for the fund to withdraw its investment, but to use its power as a shareholder to question the decisions being made.
Friends Provident, having launched the first UK ethical fund in 1984, now houses its Committee of Reference – which makes judgments on where to invest – at F&C Asset Management, which continues as its fund managers following de-merger. Ethical funds are defined by their active avoidance of those companies that harm the world, but without investment in those companies they have no power to change them. The light green approach of engagement may help ethical investment gain the support it needs to effect real change.
In January 2010, Hermes, the asset manager of the BT pension scheme, launches a service to advise private equity investors on improving their environmental, social and governance standards.
Back to top of page
View all research»
13:00 | Monday, January 20, 2014