Socially Responsible Investing

The desire for positive social impact is part of many clients’ financial lives, ranging from planned giving and donations to volunteering in their communities. There is now a growing demand for investment opportunities that also have positive social impact along with competitive returns. As a result, there are an increasing number of investment managers who consider the impact of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) behaviors in addition to more conventional criteria. We can offer clients an avenue to build both personal wealth and to have a positive impact in the world.

Many clients gain a sense of accomplishment and alignment with a personal decision to construct a portfolio that reflects their core values while also promoting financial well-being. Different elements of social impact are a priority for different clients. Whatever your interests and concerns we can guide you to realistic ways to have impact in your investing.

The North Berkeley Approach to ESG Investing

ESG investments consider environmental, social, and corporate governance criteria alongside financial returns. Like any type of investment, we research and evaluate many factors before funds are incorporated into our portfolio models. We seek opportunities that provide our clients with value-oriented investment choices that also have an ESG mandate.

We work with clients on specific strategies to align investments with their values while balancing the limitations of ESG investment opportunities, exposure to risk, and proper diversification across asset classes. Our portfolio models can satisfy “doing good and doing well” by helping you make conscious financial decisions that have a positive impact while also improving your financial well-being.

ESG Fund Implementation

Each of our advisors is trained on the available ESG funds for our investment models. They then tailor portfolios to specific client preferences that support their core values, focus on desired areas of impact, and meet their unique financial situation. Our investment committee regularly evaluates the performance and ESG criteria of the funds used in our models and is always seeking new investment opportunities.

Common ESG strategies in investment decision-making

  • Screening out specific sectors or products such as fossil-fuels or weapons
  • Investing in specific sectors such as renewable energy
  • Considering the management structure of a company on issues such as executive pay, board participation, and transparent accounting
  • Favoring companies with good environmental impact performance records
  • Looking for companies that foster positive social impact in community development, diversity and equal pay

Benefits of ESG Portfolio Strategies

  • ESG factors have positive correlation to performance
  • Promotes sustainable business practices that help mitigate risk
  • Promotes greater stability of the workforce
  • Greater transparency instills shareholder confidence
  • Focus on long-term goals, not quarterly profits
  • Companies that combine good governance and corporate responsibility will tend to deliver superior long-term shareholder value

Carbon Conscious Portfolios

In response to the environmental imperative created by the burning of fossil fuels, and because of increased demand for ‘fossil fuel free’ investments, we have constructed a carbon conscious portfolio. We focus on reducing investment exposure to industries responsible for the extraction of fossil fuel reserves. This is a divestment approach that excludes industries such as coal, oil and gas drilling, oil and gas exploration and production, and integrated oil and gas. Portfolios are built using ESG criteria (environmental, social, and corporate governance) and do not sacrifice other values to address concerns about fossil fuels. We strongly believe that companies that consider these criteria in making business decisions are better long-term investment choices and, in combination with a carbon conscious approach, address a serious environmental and social concern.