THE LAST WORD INVEST WITH YOUR HEAD, NOT WITH YOUR HEART
(MONEY Magazine) – THE TREND IN SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE INVESTING is getting to be less Ralph Nader and more Ralph Reed as the conservative Christian right charges in where "greens" and pacifists once held sway. Says Suzanne G. Harvey, director of Prudential Securities' Social Investment Research Service: "A well-organized effort is in place among pro-lifers to invest in a manner consistent with their religious and moral beliefs."
Harvey screens stocks for money managers who have specific social agendas along the entire moral spectrum. She notes that requests from pro-life investors to screen for companies that don't comply with their positions on abortion have gone up 100% over the past 12 months. "Conservative Investors have learned a lot from those who forced huge corporations to stop doing business in South Africa under apartheid," she says.
Pro-life investors attempt to purge portfolios of corporations that make contraceptives and abortion-inducing products. But they also target companies that contribute to pro-choice groups such as Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Rights Action League. Among the outfits on today's hit lists are AT&T, Bristol-Myers, Upjohn, Alcoa and GE.
Problem is, when you start bringing ideology into investing decisions, it's only a matter of time before every company winds up offending someone. You're always better off investing on strict business criteria and simply giving your time and money to groups that support your moral and political views.