Social screens – $1.3B invested

The head of the biggest socially responsible stock fund in the U.S. says her strategy is to push the financial world to correct social ills, Reuters reported Aug. 19.

“I’m introducing a sense of guilt,” Amy Domini, founder and managing principal of the $1.3 billion Domini Social Equity Fund, told Reuters.

The 10-year-old fund screens out firms involved in tobacco, alcohol, nuclear power, gambling and weapons production, Reuters said, and tracks firms that promote diversity and environmental issues, pay fair wages and support human rights in less developed countries.

The fund has posted returns of 14 percent a year for the last five years, matching the Standard & Poor’s 500 index, fund research firm Morningstar reports.

But the fund is down 8.7 percent so far this year, just ahead of the index, Reuters said.

Assets in socially screened mutual funds soared to $154 billion in  1999 from $12 billion in 1995, according to the Social Investment Forum, which tracks socially responsible funds.

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