One of the most common questions we get at the Socially Responsible Investing Committee is “Can I invest in the UU Common Endowment Fund? If not, how should I invest my personal funds in a socially responsible manner?”
Because of the nature of our UU Common Endowment Fund, individual investors cannot invest in the fund. Because we are not investment advisors, and because we don’t know an individual’s financial history and risk tolerance, we truly have no way to give good personalized advice. Often, we simply guide folks to a directory of socially responsible investment mutual funds.
Beyond that list of SRI mutual funds, which have recently outperformed many traditional funds (past performance is not an indicator of future performance!), there are other ways to invest that reinforce our UU values. For instance, there are now various vehicles that individual investors use to invest for social impact – otherwise known as impact investing.
As the market for SRI products has experienced an incredible amount of growth, there are increasing amounts of ways for individuals to get involved in impact investing. Options are becoming more and more common as smaller investors bring the use of their money in line with the values that they live.
We at the UUA have worked hard to increase the portion of the Common Endowment Fund managed by managers who are 1) signatories to Principles for Responsible Investment; 2) utilize ESG factors in their decision-making process so as to reduce investment risks; while still 3) maintaining fiduciary characteristics of strong performance and compelling investment rationales. The investments they manage vary from green bonds to US domestic equities to private market international real estate.
Increasingly, fiduciarily responsible SRI investment options are becoming available for individual investors as well. Check them out!