Meritas Unveils Four Social Funds

February 11, 2003 ( - Group Retirement Services has contracted with Meritas Financial to manage four new SRI mutual funds for Canadian retirement plan investors.

According to an announcement press release, the new Canadian offerings include one balanced fund and three equity funds. Of the three equity funds, one invests in the Canadian market, one in the US market, and one in the global market.

The balanced fund allocates 40% of its assets to equities and the remaining 60% is divided among fixed-income vehicles that include money markets, mortgages, and bonds. The equity funds are modeled on Meritas’s existing equity funds: the Meritas Jantzi Social Index Fund, the Meritas US Equity Fund, and the Meritas International Equity Fund.

All four new funds apply the same positive and negative screens that Meritas employs on all its funds. Meritas’s exclusionary screens encompass alcohol, tobacco, military, gambling, pornography, and nuclear power production. Positive screens include environmental impact, aboriginal rights and concerns, corporate governance issues, domestic and international human rights policies, and gender equity, among others.

Meritas funds also commit up to 2% of the assets in all their mutual funds to community investment in domestic and international community developments initiatives. Consumer demand prompted Group Retirement Services to make this move into the SRI arena, according to the announcement. Group Retirement Services is a division of Great-West Life Assurance Company and London Life Insurance Company.

Nation of Monaco Launches SRI Product

Also, separately, the launch of a new SRI fund in Monaco, the Monaco Environment Development Durable (MEDD), was announced. The fund was created by Sustainability Investments LLC (SILLC) and Credit Foncier de Monaco (CFM).

SILLC designed MEDD as a fund of funds. Instead of investing directly in equities, MEDD invests in SRI or sustainability funds that invest exclusively in equities. The global orientation prompted SILLC to allocate up to 70% of MEDD in large-capitalization companies. However, many companies practicing sustainability have yet to reach large-cap status, so SILLC allocates up to 40% of the fund in small-capitalization companies.