New EIA board head

THE Ethical Investment Association board has a new front man with the election of Michael Walsh as president at its third annual general meeting last week.

Mr Walsh takes over the presidency from founding co-presidents Janice Carpenter and Ross Knowles.

He is also the executive director of charity monitor Givewell, and former founding manager of ASSIRT managed funds research.

Mr Knowles, Robert Rosen and Victoria English are leaving the board, while Ms Carpenter will remain.

Glebe Asset Management managing director and founding chairman of the Christian Centre for Socially Responsible Investment, David Andrews, joins the board.

Helga Birgden, group manager of corporate responsibility at fund manager IOOF Ltd, and EIA’s newly appointed executive officer Louise O’Halloran also join the board.

EIA director Simeon Michaels was elected as the board’s vice-president.

Mr Walsh has indicated that the new board would be trying to redefine itself and set clear boundaries and interpretations of where the association stood within the changing ethical investment environment.

“I also hope to see the board work harder to communicate to members, particularly as we continue to grow,” he said.

“This also applies to non-government organisations so we can give them a clear picture of what we stand for and how we can help them.”

The growth of ethical funds, or socially responsible investments, was confirmed last week at the Ethical Investment Association conference. A report presented by Deni Green Consulting showed that SRI investment grew dramatically over the past year with a rise of 32 per cent to at least $13.9 billion. Also capturing the inflow of funds is a growing number of SRI-specific managed funds.

The study showed there are 74 SRI funds in Australia. In last year’s study there were just 46 and in 1996 only 10.

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