Inflows into ethical funds topped £164m in July, up from £101m the previous month, according to the Investment Association Monthly Statistics for July 2018 from The Investment Association. Lewis Grant, Global Equities Senior Portfolio Manager at Hermes Investment Management, questions what ‘ethical investing’ really means, its implications and dispels investors’ common misconceptions.
Let’s start at the very beginning
When deciding whether to shift to an ethical investment portfolio, investors first need to go back to basics and set a clear definition of what they constitute as ‘ethical’. Since there is no universal definition, it can be surprising how much variation there is between investors.
Exclusion or ‘negative screening’ perhaps offers investors the most direct approach to aligning their money with their morals. It is the oldest ethical investment method, and it’s easy to see why. Carving out entire sectors, companies or countries from a portfolio offers a relatively simple and transparent way for investors to express their particular ethical views and removes subjectivity.