Several of the largest U.S. socially responsible mutual funds are lifting restrictions on South Africa-related investments.
The Dreyfus Third Century Fund, the Parnassus Fund, the Domini Social Equity Fund and mutual funds from Working Assets Common Holdings and the Calvert Group will lift blanket restrictions but will seek companies that stimulate positive economic development in the country.
Representatives of the mutual fund companies issued a joint statement indicating they will reinvest as soon as the United Nations officially lifts sanctions. Certain state and municipal barriers also will need to be amended.
Reinvestment will follow the guidelines set out in the Code of Conduct, established in July by the South African Council of Churches, the African National Congress and other groups. It calls for equal employment and affirmative action, labor rights, worker education and training, environmental protection and empowerment of black-owned businesses.
Diane Coffey, director of Dreyfus corporate communications and vice president of the Third Century fund, said Dreyfus was already looking at the list of affected stocks with interest. Dreyfus runs the social screens on the fund, which is managed by a sub-advisor, Tiffany Capital Management, Philadelphia. Tiffany selects companies from the approved Dreyfus list.
"The lifting of sanctions will allow us far more freedom to select the best-performing companies," said Ms. Coffey.
Some of the affected companies include Abbott Laboratories, Borden Inc., Bristol Myers Squibb Co., Colgate-Palmolive Co., Johnson & Johnson Co., Reader's Digest Association, Texaco Inc. and Warner-Lambert Co.