Investing for Change: Profit from Responsible Investment

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9780195370140: Investing for Change: Profit from Responsible Investment

For many of us, giving significant money away for promoting change is not a practical option. But investing for change--otherwise known as SRI (Socially Responsible Investing)--is something all of us can consider. Still, a number of questions come up when we consider what it means to invest "responsibly," including:

* Is it possible to "express values" through one's investments?

* How easy is it to rank companies along standards of social rather than financial value? Wouldn't such standards be subjective?

* Does "responsible investing" imply taking more financial risks, resulting in poor performance?
* Does SRI force less virtuous companies to improve their behavior?

In Investing for Change, Augustin Landier and Vinay Nair provide answers to these questions. Categorizing investors in illuminating groups of Yellow, Blue, and Red, and drawing on the latest research and their long experience in asset management, the authors show how responsible investing can truly come into its own.

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Review:

Asset managers Augustin Landier and Vinay B. Nair explain how to make your investments reflect your values--without sacrificing returns in the process. Their well-researched book offers portraits of typical values investors, presents statistics that convince the skeptical, and makes a convincing argument for adding socially responsible investments to your portfolio.

Questions for Co-Authors Augustin Landier and Vinay B. Nair

Amazon.com: In your book, you identify three types of values investors: blue, yellow and red. Can you describe them?

Landier & Nair: In Investing for Change, we divide investors into three stylized color categories based on their motives. (In reality, all investors are a mixture of these categories with regard to specific values and causes.) These categories are structured according to two key questions: What are your beliefs, and how much are you willing to pay for them?

YELLOW investors feel morally obliged to avoid companies that are incompatible with some of their values. They consider that doing otherwise would be immoral.
RED investors are at the other end of the SRI spectrum, as they are not motivated by moral concerns. Instead, they will not tolerate investment strategies that negatively impact performance in any way.
BLUE investors are pragmatic. They are only interested in being responsible investors if they are convinced that it can change the world in the direction of their values and that the financial cost is small.

Amazon.com: You estimate that Socially Responsible Investments (SRI) will outperform the benchmark indices in the long term. Does the recent turbulence that we've seen in the markets change that prediction?

Landier & Nair: There are two conflicting forces. On the one hand, as many investors have lost a lot in recent months, being socially responsible might seem to them as a sort of "unnecessary luxury" and this might delay the growth of responsible investing. On the other hand, there is a real demand to find a new meaning in financial markets, something beyond greed, and this might give traction to the idea that markets can be used to express values. Moreover, we are entering a period of regulation tightening, which is favorable to the more responsible companies. These last two forces make the current period favorable to the growth of SRI and therefore also to its returns.

Amazon.com: Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Does corporate responsibility create wealth or do companies adopt socially responsible practices because they can afford to do so?

Landier & Nair: We explain in Investing for Change that increasing profits is not the only reason for companies to listen to the demands of responsible investors. In fact, being responsible sometimes does actually reduce profits. But it doesn't mean companies have to be altruistic to be responsible: responsibility can indeed create shareholder value indirectly by securing a strong base of loyal investors, which has a stabilizing impact on stock-prices and can allow companies to take a long-term view, to invest on more ambitious projects.

Amazon.com: Some investors may drop "sin industries" from their portfolios. Will strict values investors change the way that industries do business?

Landier & Nair: No. The fact that they are banned from responsible portfolios will not convince tobacco companies or casinos to become green energy companies! These companies cannot reasonably be expected to change industry. So, banning whole industries will not induce improvements in the way these industries are operated. If your goal is to promote change within these industries, as an investor, one way to do it is to include companies that do make an effort to reduce the damage they do and exclude those who don't. From a financial perspective, it turns out that including some companies from all industries (as opposed to excluding whole industries) has a positive impact on returns. That means that this inclusive approach is particularly suited for "Blue" investors, as it favors change while protecting financial returns.

Amazon.com: More women are adopting SRI's than men. What accounts for this difference?

Landier & Nair: There is evidence in the social psychology and economics literature that women are more prone to altruistic concerns. For example, it has been shown that when women are the recipients of public subsidies, they tend to spend it more on children's health and education than men.

Amazon.com: You write that "the future of the SRI movement hinges on the desire of the wealthiest individuals of the planet to use their investments to improve the world." How can those of us with more modest incomes affect change?

Landier & Nair: Well, the accumulation of a lot of individual initiatives can create a powerful force, that's the very idea of democracy. This requires however that responsible investors pick causes that are common to a world-wide majority of investors. As a "modest" individual, you can probably not promote your own unique personal causes but you can definitely join forces with others. So it's all about finding this global common-ground on which a large majority of investors agree and pick mutual funds or indices that are coherent with these values. We find in our research that the protection of the environment, the treatment of employees and the safety of products are the three topics on which such global consensus does currently exist. Another way to help is to spread the word: there are strong peer-effects in the way individual invest their savings.

About the Author:

Dr. Augustin Landier and Dr. Vinay B. Nair are co-founders of Ada Investment Management, an asset management firm based in New York City. They are also adjunct professors of finance at Stern School of Business, New York University. Previously they were Portfolio Managers and Research Directors at Old Lane, LP, Citi Alternative Investments as well as professors at the University of Chicago, The Wharton School, INSEAD and the Indian School of Business.

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Descripción Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2008. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. The socially conscious citizen is uneasy today, as globalization seems to grind social standards ever lower, driving companies to search abroad for the lowest labor costs and forcing governments to reduce safety regulations to attract them. In this scenario, workers earn less, the environment suffers, tax revenues for health care and other social necessities fall lower and lower. Investing for Change shows that these citizens can change the globalized world in the direction of many common values by being a socially conscious investor. How can one invest according to one s values? Will it change the way companies act? In Investing for Change, Augustin Landier and Vinay B. Nair argue that in fact globalization, by lowering boundaries through instantaneous communications and providing individuals greater choices, is helping create a shared concern for many issues around the planet. No longer are such humanitarian concerns as workplace safety, environmental standards, health care, and child-labor protections limited to isolated nations in the developed world. This development gives Responsible Investing valuable practical force. After all, the authors write, companies should not be expected to put profits second, nor should investors be expected to pay a price to express their values. As the numbers of socially conscious investors rise-and as global pressure increases-companies will compete to maximize their appeal to these investors. Most exciting, the authors point to a new generation of financial products, based on the techniques of hedge funds, which will eliminate the cost of responsible investing. The world is changing-and it can change for the better, faster, with market-tested tools that promise real financial results. Categorizing investors in illuminating groups of Yellow, Blue, and Red, and drawing on the latest research and deep experience in asset management, Landier and Nair show how responsible investing can truly come into its own. Nº de ref. de la librería APC9780195370140

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Descripción Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2008. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.The socially conscious citizen is uneasy today, as globalization seems to grind social standards ever lower, driving companies to search abroad for the lowest labor costs and forcing governments to reduce safety regulations to attract them. In this scenario, workers earn less, the environment suffers, tax revenues for health care and other social necessities fall lower and lower. Investing for Change shows that these citizens can change the globalized world in the direction of many common values by being a socially conscious investor. How can one invest according to one s values? Will it change the way companies act? In Investing for Change, Augustin Landier and Vinay B. Nair argue that in fact globalization, by lowering boundaries through instantaneous communications and providing individuals greater choices, is helping create a shared concern for many issues around the planet. No longer are such humanitarian concerns as workplace safety, environmental standards, health care, and child-labor protections limited to isolated nations in the developed world. This development gives Responsible Investing valuable practical force. After all, the authors write, companies should not be expected to put profits second, nor should investors be expected to pay a price to express their values. As the numbers of socially conscious investors rise-and as global pressure increases-companies will compete to maximize their appeal to these investors. Most exciting, the authors point to a new generation of financial products, based on the techniques of hedge funds, which will eliminate the cost of responsible investing. The world is changing-and it can change for the better, faster, with market-tested tools that promise real financial results. Categorizing investors in illuminating groups of Yellow, Blue, and Red, and drawing on the latest research and deep experience in asset management, Landier and Nair show how responsible investing can truly come into its own. Nº de ref. de la librería APC9780195370140

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