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Tips For Cashing in on Socially Responsible Investing

Rob Rumley, asst. vp and financial advisor at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, Atlanta

My wife is an environmental lawyer and we do our best to be as “green” as possible.

All of her work and efforts to better both our planet and communities got me thinking about a trend that I have been noticing in finance.

It has become increasingly easier to invest in a manner that is consistent with one’s beliefs and values; this is known as impact or socially responsible investing.

This area of investing has become more popular and there is a growing demand to invest in both social and environmental improvements. Today there are many ways to make your money work for you while still aligning your personal interests.

Socially responsible investing started out decades ago when some folks wanted to stay away from the “sin” stocks – tobacco, gambling, and alcohol, to mention a few.

Today, social investing is much more advanced and there are many more options. Examples include investing in clean and/or renewable energy, affordable housing and even the arts community.

The investment community’s ability to monitor the performance of socially responsible investing has improved as well. Indices that track sustainability, green building, pollution prevention and human rights are available for benchmarking and education.

According to the Forum for Sustainable Investing, nearly one  in eight dollars under professional management – about $3.07 trillion—follows investment strategies that follow corporate or societal concerns. This driving force for positive change can and should continue to grow while becoming more influential over the next decade.

My three tips to begin investing with impact are:
1) Decide which areas you would like to improve with your investment dollars (i.e. corporate responsibility, environmental, faith-based and social).
2) Identify your goals from a financial and societal perspective.
3) Research financial vehicles (mutual funds, ETF’s or bonds) that support your overall financial plans.
So as businessman Wilfred Peterson said “Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it.”

Rob Rumley is a Financial Advisor with the Global Wealth Management Division of Morgan Stanley in Atlanta. The information contained in this article is not a solicitation to purchase or sell investments. Any information presented is general in nature and not intended to provide individually tailored investment advice. The strategies and/or investments referenced may not be suitable for all investors as the appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor’s individual circumstances and objectives. Investing involves risks and there is always the potential of losing money when you invest. The views expressed herein are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect the views of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, or its affiliates. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC, member SIPC.

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