Hargreaves Lansdown and the Ethical Investors' Group have clashed over the environmental credentials and investment case of First State's recently launched global resources fund.
HL investment manager Ben Yearsley criticises EIG director Lee Coates' contention outlined in Money Marketing last week that few investors would choose the fund if they knew of the environmental costs. Yearsley questions if Coates has met First State's management team, which he says emphasises environmental and health concerns, and the legitimacy of most ethical funds' investment case.
But Coates has hit back,dismissing Yearsley's ability to assess environmental concerns and his opinion that, under EIG's criteria, the fund would have nothing left in which to invest. He claims he does not need to have met First State's fund management team to assess its views on ethical investing.
He says: “If First State does not put its concerns on its marketing literature then it cannot be very big on its radar. Yearsley's only defence is inane comments which my 12-year-old son could see through.”
Yearsley says: “If he has not met the management how can he criticise the fund and its environmental policy? I think that ethical investors often cannot see the wood for the trees.”