Magazine article American Banker

Social Responsibility Funds Flourish; Pension Groups Lead Charge as Concern on South Africa Mounts

Magazine article American Banker

Social Responsibility Funds Flourish; Pension Groups Lead Charge as Concern on South Africa Mounts

Article excerpt

Social Responsibility Funds Flourish

Pension Groups Lead Charge as Concern on South Africa Mounts

The so-called social responsibility funds, riding a wave of concern about developments in South Africa and divestment in stocks of companies doing business there, are growing even faster than they did in 1985, say research groups tracking the funds.

Pension organizations have put the most money into these funds. From $40 billion invested in funds that use social criteria at yearend 1984, the total leaped to $100 billion at yearend 1985 and $220 billion today, says the Council on Economic Priorities, a New York-based research organization and clearing house for social responsibility issues.

Steven Lydenberg, a council researcher in Boston, said the $220 billion figure includes one large pension fund--the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association and College Retirement Equities fund--that now has "mild South Africa restrictions' and had not been included in the 1985 numbers. But continuing divestment and the stock market boom have been largely responsible for the gains, he said.

Mutual funds and money market funds that use social responsibility criteria increased their assets under management by 77% in 1985, says the Social Investment Forum, a Boston-based trade association that provides information on social issues for investors. Some seven such funds are in existence, Mr. Lydenberg said.

One of those funds, which offers money market accounts, is managed by South Shore Bank in Chicago. …

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