The mutual funds awarded the first annual Social Investing Leadership Awards demonstrate that investing with a conscience pays off: All five beat their objective benchmarks by healthy margins last year.
Business Ethics magazine judged the many mutual funds within the $1.2 trillion category of socially responsible portfolios based on investment performance and social impact. All the award winners practice active corporate governance.
The winners are:
* The Domini Social Equity Fund won the U.S. Mid- to Large-Cap Equity Award due to its return of 32.99% for the year ended Dec. 31. The Standard & Poor's 500 index returned 28.58% for the year.
* The Citizens Emerging Growth Fund, with an average annualized return since its Feb. 10, 1994, inception of 24.15%, beat 98% of the midcap funds tracked by Lipper Analytical Services Inc.
* The Ariel Appreciation Fund, with 18.34% average annualized returns over the five years ended Dec. 31, beat the Russell Mid-Cap index return of 17.3% for the same period.
* The USTC Socially Responsible Balanced Fund from U.S. Trust Co. of Boston had an annualized average return over five years of 17%, compared with 13.9% for the Lipper Balanced Fund index.
* The Calvert World Values International Equity Fund, with an average annualized three-year return of 11.49%, beat the Lipper International Funds Average return for the period of 7.69%.