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Money targets ethics

ETHICAL and socially responsible companies are attracting the attention of banks and investment houses with the latest to hop on board being Challenger Portfolio Management Limited, a subsidiary of Challenger International Limited.

Challenger is introducing Challenger Socially Responsive Investment funds which will invest in “responsible”

companies selected from the top 300 companies in the ASX All Ordinaries Index.

The company will offer both wholesale and retail funds commencing in July.

Challenger will manage the Challenger SRI fund, previously the Tyndall Ethical Balanced Investment Trust, which currently manages around $12 million from retail investors.

The minimum investment is $1,000.

Challenger Managed investments general manger Martin Ashe said that, not only had there been a demand from clients for a fund of this type, but that the company considered socially responsive companies would post attractive returns for shareholders over the longer term.

To receive a tick of approval, each company is analysed on their financial performance and then assessed on their social responsiveness.

“A determination of responsiveness within those companies encompasses analysis of environment, workplace, community citizenship, corporate regulatory compliance and product integrity policies and practices of the company being considered for investment,” Mr Ashe said.

The research is undertaken on behalf of Challenger by recently established specialist research group, the Sustain-able Investment Research Institute.

Challenger already has a commitment of $5 million from a church organisation for the SRI wholesale fund and is currently talking with other institutions that have expressed interest in the wholesale fund.

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