<!-- Swiftype Variables -->

Best places to work in money management

AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust

Volunteering at So Others May Eat, a non-profit providing food, clothing and health-care services to the poor and homeless, is a hit with employees.

Fifth place, money managers with 50 to 99 employees

AUM: $6.2 billion

Employees: 53

Any company that makes it onto a list of great places to work is likely to share traits with fellow firms: supportive management, good benefits — including a healthy work-family balance — and community involvement.

Employees at the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, however, also get the unique benefit of seeing the results of their labors directly impact thousands of union men and women.

A newcomer to Pensions & Investments' Best Places to Work in Money Management program, HIT began in 1984, way ahead of the impact investing trend. Since then, it has invested $10.6 billion in almost 500 development projects that have given workers in the building trades unions 10.3 million man-hours, and even permanent jobs for people living in the HIT-built communities, which are often affordable housing.

And they have done it without sacrificing investment results. The portfolio, now 66% invested in multifamily securities, netted a 2.14% return in the first six months of 2017.

But CEO Steve Coyle's biggest source of pride is his team. Top aides laugh at how the jobs they thought they were taking morphed into exciting new challenges that kept their synapses charged. A typical HIT employee joined at a young age and never thought of leaving.

Mr. Coyle looks for diversity when hiring and then works to keep everyone engaged together. "We do everything as if it were a common law court, with committees for everything," he said.

Employees echo that, with one commenting in the BPTW survey that "this organization is exceedingly fair." Another nice touch, said the employee, is that "I have never heard of another organization that gives better, or even equal, fringe benefits."

Those benefits include 100% employer-paid health care, a fully funded defined benefit plan and dollar-for-dollar matching in HIT's 401(k) plan.

For another employee, it gets back to HIT's original purpose, "The mission statement says it all. The work is enriching when you believe that you are helping your fellow workers," the employee said.