Friends Vilas-Fischer Trust Co., New York, launched an ethical investment strategy for U.S. institutional and high-net-worth investors.
The Friends Stewardship Trust Portfolio will invest in growth-oriented equities, using the model developed by its parent, Friends Provident Asset Management Group, Dorking, England, the largest ethical investment manager in the United Kingdom.
Portfolio managers J. Robert Bloom and Andrew Pringle use positive criteria, such as progressive environmental practices, commitment to employee diversity and superior employee welfare, to select stocks. Companies are eliminated based on negative criteria, such as military contracting, environmental pollution and damage, distribution of animal-tested products and trade with oppressive regimes.
The strategy relies heavily on the advice of an independent committee made up of outside experts on social and ethical issues. Portfolio returns will be compared to the Domini Social Index, the most widely used social investment benchmark in the United States.
The portfolio will be marketed to institutional investors, religious organizations and wealthy individuals. The minimum for commingled fund investment is $500,000; the minimum for separate accounts is $1 million.
The Friends Vilas-Fischer Trust Co. is the result of a 1995 merger between Vilas-Fischer Trust and Friends Provident. Friends Provident manages more than $28 billion in global markets. Friends Vilas-Fischer manages about $1.9 billion for U.S. clients from its New York office.