Socially responsible investing gets a Trump bump

theglobeandmail.com |January 25, 2018

By STAN CHOE

Decades after she began investing, Diana Casey for the first time put money in mutual funds that favour companies with women in corner offices and otherwise aim to invest in a socially responsible way. Her inspiration? President Donald Trump.

A 49-year-old lawyer, she was turned off when then-candidate Trump insinuated the judge overseeing a lawsuit against Trump University may be biased because of his Mexican heritage. Judge Gonzalo Curiel is based in San Diego, Casey’s hometown, and the legal community there is close. She also was saddened by comments Mr. Trump made about women, the disabled and other groups of people. After Trump captured the White House, Casey was feeling disgusted.

“It really flicked a switch that I need to be more involved and do more to get our country back on track,” Ms. Casey said. “To me, that meant paying attention to where I put my money.”

Using cash that was sitting in the bank, and shifting some funds in her Individual Retirement Account, Ms. Casey reconfigured her portfolio so that she now has about a third of her investments in socially responsible funds, up from zero before Trump was elected. Those investments include a fund that holds stocks in companies where women are well represented on the board and in executive offices.

Others have made a similar move, defying predictions that a Trump White House would have a chilling effect on the socially responsible investing industry. Last year, investors plugged $6.4-billion into socially responsible mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, according to Jon Hale, head of sustainable investing research at Morningstar. That’s up 10 per cent from 2016, and more than triple the rate of 2015.

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