A Clear Conscience Can Yield Plenty of Cash
What about those returns?
But before someone jumps into any type of SRI, there is that issue of returns. While DeSimone points to better than average results compared with non-SRI, others aren't so sure.
"There's been a lot of debate regarding the financial performance of social funds," says Oklahoma City University's James Ma. "And there's really no consensus. Some studies say there's no performance loss, others say there is. From a purely theoretical point of view, adopting social screening will reduce an investor's investment set and therefore will have a diversification cost to the portfolio."
Doug Langen, a VP with Star Financial Bank's wealth management business who advises clients on socially responsible investing, with a focus on religious values, also sees limits to SRI.
"There might not be a huge disparity in returns for SRI compared to non-SRI," says Langen. "But when you manage assists for clients that screen companies, you do handcuff your returns and your asset allocation. You do sacrifice some of your returns."
Committed SRI investors are probably less likely to lose sleep over that than the problems than the inequities or injustices that bother them.
"The investor population in the US is aging with the 'baby boomers'," says Adkisson. "Your values might matter more as you age, rather than less, so SRI is not going to go away in my opinion."
"I think my investments have done better in this economic downturn than non-SRI's," says Davis. "But if I were to suffer financially, it would still be worth it because I wouldn't feel I was compromising my values for a higher return."