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Socially Responsible Investing Pays Off

PUTTING YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR VALUES ARE PAYS FOR INVESTORS

Local investment firm, Cascade Financial Strategies, launches new blog, “SRI Bend”, to address objections and misconceptions about Socially Responsible Investing.

Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) has undergone significant changes in the last few years and is experiencing impressive growth in many areas. A significant number of investors, both individual and institutional, are seeking to align the direction of their investments with their core values. $1 of every $6 being professionally managed in the U.S. – almost $6.7 trillion – is in some form of sustainable investment according to a recent report by Morgan Stanley.  The blog is co-authored by Jack Schniepp and Ryan Andrews, partners at Cascade Financial Strategies (www.cascadefs.com).

“Our goal with this new blog is to not only introduce tools and information to help with this process, but also to clarify common misconceptions and counter objections which permeate the SRI arena.” explains Jack.

When investors ask their financial advisors about SRI portfolios the advisor will typically answer that SRI is available, but investment returns will likely be sacrificed. “I know, because that is what I used to tell clients in my first ten years when I worked at the larger investment firms” says Jack. “That message, which we were given as advisors, is unsubstantiated.”

Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Sustainable Investing released a report earlier this year that examined 13,102 mutual funds & separately managed accounts and found, “investing in sustainability has usually met, and often exceeded, the performance of comparable traditional investments. This is on both an absolute and risk-adjusted basis, across asset classes and over time.” The below table and chart demonstrates the improved returns over periods. “The data is in,” comments Ryan Andrews, “investors should revisit their perceptions around SRI investing. There is not a ‘cost’ in the form of reduced returns, instead returns were higher in these periods because investors were putting capital in forward thinking companies with sound governance, environmental, and social corporate policies. These actions pay off over time.”

The SRI Bend blog regularly addresses this misconception about returns. A recent post highlights a move by S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&P DJI), one of the world’s leading providers of financial market indices, to create an SRI index comparable to the S&P 500. Not only is this significant because it confirms the increased demand in SRI, but the index returns highlighted below, for the 3+ years that it has been tracked, outperformed the S&P 500!

With the misconception over returns out of the picture, investors are free to pursue aligning their values with their portfolios. SRI Bend can provide them with resources to begin this important transition.

1m         ytd         1y           3y           5y           10y

SPX 500                1.29       3.21       11.81     19.67     16.54     8.12

S&P SRI                1.62       3.42       14.43     20.12

MSCI KLD 400 vs S&P 500

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