Ethical investment awards

CHALLENGER International has won Ethical Investor magazine’s inaugural Ethical Fund of the Year Award for its Socially Responsive Investment Fund.

Equal second and third places went to two funds managed by Canberra-based Australian Ethical Investments, its Equities Trust and Large Companies Trust.

Ethical Investor has also instituted a Corporate Sustain-ability Award, with the initial winner being Bendigo Bank. The key to its win was the community banking program, through which many communities across Australia have partnered with Bendigo to open their own bank branch.

A third award, for Sustainable Small Company of the year, went to Blackmores, which produces vitamins, minerals and herbs.

The award was based on its positive work practices and environmentally and socially responsible practices across the business.

Challenger’s award was aided by its 11.54 per cent investment return over the year to October, well above most other ethical funds.

It also ranked well on the ‘sustainability’ assessment, which rated the companies held by each ethical fund on criteria such as environmental management, social policies and corporate governance.

The last of these criteria was a qualitative assessment of each ethical fund manager. Australian Ethical was clearly the panel’s favourite in this regard, returning far and away the highest score.

Australian Ethical’s overall performance in the awards, however, was affected by poor investment returns during the 12 months to October.

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