Two investors in three would like to see their money invested in a socially responsible manner according to a MORI poll for Stewardship Growth, an ethical investment fund for private investors.
The poll has found 65 per cent of investors want IFAs to start taking the initiative and ask their clients if they wish to invest ethically, rather than wait for it to be requested.
However, 25 per cent of investors polled expect ethical funds to underperform compared with other funds, 42 per cent expect no difference and only 15 per cent expect better returns.
Stewardship has found though it can produce higher returns from ethical funds than 35 of 55 UK equity growth funds in a 20 year period. In the year to May 31 2004, Stewardship grew by 24.58 per cent against 22 per cent for the FTSE All Share Index. The ethical funds sector, according to the survey has grown to 200 funds worth £4.2bn. Stewardship has 200,000 investors and manages funds of £1.5bn.
Stewardship fund manager Ted Scott says: “The laugh is now on the cynics who in 1984 described ethical funds the Brazil funds – because you have to be nuts to buy them. One reason they do well is that, in an era of trackers and closet trackers, ethical funds have to be very actively managed because entire sectors like tobacco and defence are ruled out.”