Make Your Portfolio Purr . . .with Pet Friendly Mutual Funds and Investments
Animal friendly mutual funds are a great way to ensure that the companies your money is invested in do no harm, and in some cases, even help the animals you care about. One such fund is the IPS Millennium Fund. This fund is managed by Robert Loest, an avid animal advocate. The fund screens out companies that may harm animals, such as pharmaceutical firms and the experimental portion of biotech companies. However, Mr. Loest and his team take a different approach in helping animals through investment. Mr. Loest believes in “constructive engagement.” “I have always felt that owning shares gave you more clout than not owning shares,” said Mr. Loest. He believes in working with companies that have taken steps demonstrating a willingness to change their policies toward animals. To accomplish this the Fund will often buy shares in companies, for example, as it did in Kimberly-Clark. Kimberly Clark has taken measures to lessen the number of animals it uses in the development of its products. By owning shares in the company, the IPS Millennium Fund can work to ensure that its corporate policies continue to progress toward being 100% animal friendly. In addition, the fund’s managers contribute their own money to animal and environmental organizations.
The IPS Millennium Fund has been in existence since January 1, 1995 and has assets that total $137.5 million. Currently Morningstar (an equity fund research and rating agency), rates the IPS Millennium Fund in the top 10% of all growth mutual funds and in 2002 the fund beat all the indexes including the S&P 500. For information on this fund and how to invest you can visit its web site at www.ipsfunds.com.
Additionally, most animal lovers have no idea of where their money goes when investing in their 401K’s and IRA’s. Many would be horrified if they knew what practices their money funds within some corporations. Investment funds like the IPS Millennium Fund offer animal lovers the option to ensure their money is not used to harm the brothers and sisters of their own beloved pets.
There are a number of other Socially Responsible Investment Funds that screen out companies who harm animals, invest in tobacco or violate human rights. To see a list of the companies whose screening includes animal issues, visit the Social Investment Forum at their website www.socialinvest.org. Another good resource is the www.SocialFunds.org.
What is most important to investors is how well their funds perform. According to the Social Investment Forum, two thirds of all socially responsible mutual funds received one of the two highest rankings through the end of 2001 by either Lipper Inc, or Morningstar, their investment rating companies.