Historically ethical or Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) funds have been fairly pricey due to all the extra work that the Fund Managers have to do in terms of research and having stock lists approved. Vanguard have just launched two new SRI funds that buck this trend and combine a passive investment strategy. The funds launched yesterday – though perhaps launching them last week during National Ethical Investment Week might have been a more productive idea in terms of added PR and newsworthiness. Anyway, the two funds SRI European Stock Fund and SRI Global Stock Fund, both have a minimum investment of £100,000 and very low charges of 0.35% and 0.40% respectively.
It will be interesting to see how quickly the funds gather support which will probably reduce the minimum investment requirements. Vanguard is one of the biggest index tracking / passive investment Houses in the world with $1.7trillion in assets, starting life in 1975 and launching a tracker fund in 1976 (500 Index Fund). Vanguard is reasonably new to the UK, launching here in June 2009. This is a company that is serious about challenging the status quo of investing.
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