A:

As the name suggests, socially responsible mutual funds invest exclusively in socially responsible investments. Securities from companies that adhere to social, moral, religious and/or environmental beliefs are a few examples.

In addition to basic quantitative analysis, a socially responsible portfolio manager takes into account a company's community investment, environmental responsibility, protection of human rights, employment diversity, animal testing and product offering. Companies that produce weapons, gambling facilities, alcohol and tobacco are also often excluded. Because individuals have varying values, beliefs and investment goals, there are a number of different types of socially responsible mutual funds available. Some might include only equities or bonds, while others might hold a combination of the two. Furthermore, some funds might specialize in being free of securities from alcohol, casino and tobacco companies, while others might invest exclusively in companies that are environmentally responsible.

Securities that have been screened for socially responsible criteria are then combined to achieve a specific investing style and goal. A portfolio manager will decide whether the fund will be made up of:

  • equity, fixed income or both (balanced)
  • domestic or international securities
  • small, mid, or large cap stocks
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