A List Of Ethical Investment Funds In Australia

One of the pleasing developments I've noticed over the last few years is the continually expanding selection of ethical funds available to Australian investors. But unfortunately, some funds could be considered to have much stronger ethical policies than others. For example, AMP Limited (ASX:AMP) has a fund called "The AMP Capital Ethical Leaders Fund".

When the Ethical Advisor's Co-op reviewed the fund, they found that it invested significant amounts of money in fossil fuel companies and -- to rub salt in the wound -- they apparently used their shares to vote against a variety of environmentally conscious resolutions put forward by activists. The reason I think this is problematic is that I believe some investors in the fund might assume that "ethical leaders" would not include fossil fuel companies. But hey, millennials don't make the rules, do they?

In any event, I've enjoyed discovering the Ethical Advisor's Co-op "leaf ratings", and so thought I'd incorporate them into this short list of some of the ethical managed funds available in Australia.

BetaShares Global Sustainability Leaders ETF and the BetaShares Australian Sustainability Leaders ETF 

These publicly traded ASX ETF basically apply a fairly stringent negative scan, including avoiding companies that are major financiers of fossil fuel projects.

The Ethical Advisors Co-op gives it 4.5 leaves out of 5.

Australian Ethical Emerging Companies Fund

Australian Ethical launched this fund a few years ago, tracking its benchmark for much of that time, before opening up a solid lead more recently, with a gain of 19.9% in the twelve months to August 2019.

The Ethical Advisors Co-op gives it 4.5 leaves out of 5.

Nanuk New World Fund

This is a global fund in operation since 2015 has handily outperformed its benchmark, generating over 14% per annum for investors. 

The Ethical Advisors Co-op gives it 4 leaves out of 5, the best result of any global managed fund, from what I could tell.

Samuel Terry Asset Management

The Top performing Samuel Terry Absolute Return fund recently showed themselves to be very ethical investors! They said:

"During the year, we formalised a previously informal policy of not investing in businesses primarily engaged in the following activities: Thermal coal (i.e. coal for electricity production – coal for steel is not excluded), Tobacco, Gambling, and Lending to poor people at very high interest rates.

We recognise that this policy will not please everyone. Some say that it is not our job as fund managers to make moral judgements with your money. Others say that we should exclude other sectors such as oil production. However, this is the basis upon which we have been investing for some time, so we believe it is time to articulate our policy."

It is not yet rated by the Ethical Advisor's Co-op.

MX Capital

Run by star stock picker Weimin Xie. Avoids companies that are damaging to human society, violation of animal rights, human rights violations, un-remediated destruction of the environment. I invest in this fund.

It is not yet rated by the Ethical Advisor's Co-op.

Personally, I look forward to seeing the Co-op develop their fund rating system further, you can check their list here.

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This article does not take into account your individual circumstances and contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 501223). Authorised by Claude Walker.

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