Socially responsible investing (SRI) is an investment approach that considers environmental, social and corporate governance factors to generate strong financial returns while having a positive societal impact. This investment approach has been around for many years, but became increasingly popular in the late 1980s and continues to see tremendous growth among individual and institutional investors.
As an investment strategy, socially responsible investing encourages corporate practices that promote environmental stewardship, consumer protection, human rights and diversity.
The goal is for strong financial performance while contributing to the advancement of the social causes that we care so much about.
At Rise Financial, we’re passionate about making a positive impact on our communities and implementing a socially responsible investment strategy. We conduct extensive research, scouring the investment universe in search of companies and investment vehicles that not only make a difference, but have proven superior financial results.
Socially responsible investing (SRI) continues to grow rapidly in the United States. According to the US SIF Foundation, the total assets under management using socially responsible strategies was $8.7 trillion at the start of 2016, an increase of 33% since 2014. As noted below, assets have grown dramatically over the last 20 years:
These assets now account for more than one out of every five dollars under professional management in the United States. Most importantly, this inexorable trend in growth is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
Moreover, the number of companies and investment products that are socially conscious continues to rise. Over the past five years alone, 45 new SRI mutual funds have opened. There are now 181 SRI mutual funds and 39 exchange-traded funds in the U.S. This trend allows us at Rise Financial to choose from a broad array of investment options, depending on your specific needs and desire for social impact, to meet your financial goals and objectives.
Some investors express concern that by investing in socially responsible companies and/or funds, they’re giving up financial returns in exchange for doing good. This is simply not the case. In fact, if you review the numbers, socially responsible stocks, on average, have performed just as well, if not better, than the market as a whole. As noted, the total returns for the Domini Social 400 Index (a third-party market index of socially responsible stocks) between 1990 (its inception) and 2015 was 12%. Over the same period, the S&P 500 Index returned 11.49%.
Socially responsible investing simply does not mean that you need to compromise your values at the expense of earning strong returns. If you approach socially responsible investing like any other investment, you’ll be able to put money into something that both supports your values and your pocketbook.