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Socially Responsible Portfolios

Making money talk articulately is the point of Socially Responsible Portfolios, an outgrowth of the investment advisory service started three years ago by Christopher Kappan.
Kappan was an organic gardener before he became a Securities and Exchange Commission-registered investment adviser. And he did environmental research at the University of Rochester before starting Kappan Associates.
So when he learned of the social screens some annuities and mutual funds use to throw their financial weight behind environmental and other causes, Kappan knew there was a market for such funds.
Only a small percentage of the nearly 6,000 U.S. mutual funds bill themselves as “socially responsible” and publicize their investments or refusal to invest in certain industries. But investors who do not want their money to end up in the tobacco or firearms industry, for example, can choose a mutual fund or annuity that shares their taste in social justice, Kappan said.
He has assembled a data base of various social screens used by such funds to guide their investment practices, and updates it regularly. Kappan does specialized research for those clients who want to fine-tune the social impact of their investments.
Most of the socially responsible mutual funds are market newcomers without established track records, calling for even more intensive research and careful advice on Kappan’s part. But more than a few of the general investment clients he serves through Kappan Associates have become interested in the concept.
“Given a choice, people do care where their money goes,” Kappan said. “I give them the information they need to make that choice.”
He invests his own money in socially responsible funds.
“The financial grass-roots movement is not a fad, it’s a growing trend,” Kappan said, noting that the number of mutual funds willing to market their social conscience along with their financial performance grows yearly.
Kappan is a fee-only adviser who deals in no-load funds of all types, offering personalized investment services to individuals and small businesses.

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