In recent years, rock stars have become increasingly vocal about social causes. Now they are putting their money where their mouths are.
The phenomenon is music to the ears of officials of Franklin Research & Development Corp., Boston. In the past year or so, the firm has attracted 20 to 30 rock stars, bands and producers to its socially responsible investment management approach. Its minimum account size is $600,000.
Although firm officials declined to name the clients, they include several Grammy-winning artists.
"Put it this way, we got a corporate subscription to Rolling Stone," said Simon Billenness, senior analyst at the firm, which runs $400 million.
Why would rockers suddenly decide to invest alongside church groups, trade unions and non-profits like Amnesty International, the firm's traditional client base?
Much of the credit goes to Farnum Brown, a rock critic-turned-money manager hired a year ago from a small investment firm in North Carolina.
"We've been getting one client in the top 10 album charts each week," boasted Mr. Billenness. Unfortunately, "we haven't gotten any real freebies" like concert tickets or backstage passes.
Occasionally, though, celebrities call to inquire about their accounts. Reining in their excitement, firm officials realize the stars don't want groupies, only money managers.
"We have to behave professionally despite the temptation to hang on them," he said.