Younger investors and women are grabbing the attention of money managers as they start to move billions, even trillions, into social and environmentally responsible funds and companies.
The broadest category of socially responsible investment — including, for example, mutual funds that screen out “negatives” such as alcohol and firearms — grew last year to $6.57 trillion, up 76 percent from $3.74 trillion two years ago, according to the latest biennial study by U.S. SIF Foundation, an advocate for social investment. That’s 18 percent of all U.S. managed assets; U.S. SIF’s CEO Lisa Woll predicted that SRIs would grow to 25 percent of managed assets over the next four years.
Four out of five fund managers polled said they are developing socially-minded investment products on account of client pressure, especially the two key demographics. The SIF report cites a survey of high net worth millennials by US Trust Bank of America that found the social, environmental, and political impact of investing is somewhat or extremely important to 69 percent; 31 percent have reviewed their investment portfolio for non-financial impacts. The report cites major investment firms that “have created products across asset classes that focus on companies that help women advance and on organizations that assist women and their families living in poverty or in under-served communities.