The funds represent the latest in what appears to be a resurgence of socially-conscious investment options and ones that are increasingly targeted to more specific constituencies.
Aimed at Catholic institutions such as colleges, hospitals, religious orders and dioceses, the portfolios are reportedly the first to seek conformance with the 1991 Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and U.S. Catholic Conference.
The Carlisle Catholic U.S. Market Index started with 1,404 stocks, while a separate Carlisle Catholic Small Cap Index contains 517 stocks.
Kennewick, Washington-based Carlisle applied social screening criteria to a core list of 2,950 stocks, excluding 212 companies for failing to pass muster on issues including:
- affordable housing
- gender and racial discrimination
- military spending.
Firms that didn’t make the “cut” include:
- GE – because of environmental and military issues
- Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, American Home Products and Pharmacia because of products used for conception or to induce abortion
- Citigroup, Coca-Cola, SBC Communications and Bank of America because of discrimination issues
One firm that passed the screens was Wal-Mart Stores, despite recent criticisms of the firm for working conditions at its overseas factories.
Aperio Group of Larkspur, Calif. has been named investment manager of the new portfolios. Patrick Geddes, former chief financial officer of fund researcher Morningstar Inc., is chief investment officer of Aperio.