December 28, 2017
Well, it's that time of year again. Making lists and checking them twice is good for Santa. Reading reviews about the best of the past is for the rest of us. Morningstar just released their "5 BIG THINGS ABOUT SUSTAINABLE INVESTING IN 2017." I recommend reading the article (free after signing up), but if you want the big picture, the top 5 Big Things were: The Trump Effect, The Fearless Girl, The Big Three Ramp Up Their Engagement Activity and Climate Risk Disclosure. Probably makes more sense if you read the article. But these are all big changes in the ESG and general investing space.
November 10, 2017
The number one question I'm asked about Socially Responsible Investing and ESG is "If I put money into these investments, will it hurt my returns?" US-SIF has a section on their website titled PERFORMANCE AND SRI that links to several studies done over the last decade and their conclusion is "The evidence is clear that sustainable and responsible investors do not have to pay more to align their investments with their values, or to avoid companies with poor environmental, social or governance practices." I recommend reading some of the studies as they look at different types of investments and do show some negatives along with the positives. As per always: The return may be lower than if the adviser made decisions based solely on investment considerations.
November 1, 2017
Maybe the most interesting issue of GREEN MONEY JOURNAL I've read. The articles are all written by leaders in the ESG and SRI fields and all about their personal life-long "Money Stories". Understanding your history with money, wealth and investments is key to an advisor like me to give proper advice. Knowing where you come from can help build the bridge to where you want to get to.
September 27, 2017
Always wanted to create a portfolio that you felt matched your value but was overwhelmed where to start? Want a simple guide of the questions you should be asking and what some possible solution might be? Well US SIF (The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment) just came out with their GETTING STARTED IN SUSTAINABLE AND IMPACT INVESTING A GUIDE FOR RETAIL INVESTORS. Of course you can always reach out to us and we're happy to get you started to.
September 13, 2017
As mentioned below last month GREENMONEY JOURNAL celebrated their 25th Anniversary and reviewed their history. This month they try to look forward at some of the changes they think might be coming down the road. Some of the stories include ideas on Biomimicry, The Future of SRI, and on Principals of Responsible Investing.
August 28, 2017
One of my favorite radio programs is Marketplace on NPR. I think they do a great job of looking deeply at the economy from different angles. While driving in to work last week and listening to the Market Place Morning Report, they had a SEGMENT ON THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF GREENMONEY. For readers of this blog, I recommend their newsletter almost every month for it's insight into ESG investing. The story goes over a brief history as they see it of SRI/ESG and some of the changes the founder, Cliff Feigenbaum thinks he's made over the years.
August 19, 2017
When most of our clients come to us concerned about how their values match their portfolio, they are talking about the equity portion of their investments. But, green and other ESG related bonds are a fast growing segment of the marketplace. To understand a little more about how Green Bonds work and some benefits, I recommend Financial Advisor's "GREEN BONDS NEED MORE FERTILIZER."
August 14, 2017
I usually like to find articles that are light reads or are easy to understand for the reader who doesn't spend have a long background in ESG investing. But sometimes and article is worth a longer look. I was just referred to Daniel C. Esty, Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy, Yale University; Director, Yale Sustainability Leadership Forum's paper "RED LIGHTS TO GREEN LIGHTS: FROM 20TH CENTURY ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS TO 21ST CENTURY SUSTAINABILITY" It is a long read but talks about how environmental regulations helped improve the quality of America's air and water, and how it will not be enough moving forward. He gives several suggestions on what can be done in the 21st Century.
July 17, 2017
Looking to diversify your ESG portfolio oversees, I'd suggest a great place to start is by reading the NY Times piece "AIMING TO DO GOOD, NOT JUST WELL" from last week. It starts with a good overview of some good places to start and some good questions to ask yourself of what you're looking for. The article goes over some of the different philosophies of some of the more popular funds.
July 14, 2017
I'll let the intro paragraph do all the talking. This is the start of GREENMONEY's 25th Anniversary: "This July/August 2017 issue features a variety of insightful writers looking at "The Next 25 Years of Impact Investing and Sustainable Business." That 25-year time frame allows for a calmer sense to prevail, versus the urgency of current events. The opportunity to become more financially and politically savvy is key to aligning our money with our values and using our money to create the sort of world we want to live in." Several great articles as usual talking about the history and potential future of ESG investing.
July 10, 2017
Need to understand why one should choose ESG investing or what it can do? A great primer is PAX's 2+ minute video called "INVESTING IS YOUR SUPER POWER". It's all right there in 2 minutes on the reasons why people choose to create an ESG portfolio with their assets.
June 29, 2017
We were honored today to be given a commendation from Santa Monica Mayor Ted Winterer for our work as a Santa Monica Green Business during their celebration of the 10th anniversary of the program.
June 29, 2017
Nice article in the New York Times entitled "CAN GOOD CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP BE MEASURED?" I think it is a fairly balanced approach to reason to create an ESG portfolio and reasons why one might not be right for you. Like any investment technique the article mentions that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't and understanding your reasons for considering ESG will help decide if it is the right move or not.
June 1, 2017
Sustainalytics is a company that pops up a lot in ESG discussion groups for their mission "to provide the insights required for investors and companies to make more informed decisions that lead to a more just and sustainable global economy." They just released this week a thought-provoking piece "FAKE NEWS, SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE VALUE OF CREDIBLE CONTENT." The article discusses a range of investment risks that can be caused by fake news spreading on social media.
May 23, 2017
We have many clients and prospect come to us and ask about investing in women owned/run businesses. PAX Investments just came out with a quick VIDEOon why one might want to do this and the investment potential in investing in companies with women leaders. About 3 1/2 minutes and gives a very quick overview but for those of you who want to help empower women in the workplace, this shows how your investments can do just that.
May 20, 2017
Lisa Woll, who runs the United States Social Investment Forum (US-SIF) was recently interviewed by Morningstar on the topic "WHAT'S DRIVING GROWTH IN SUSTAINABLE INVESTING." The US-SIF is the trade group for investment professionals using ESG investing. A couple of the more timely quotes with the current administration in Washington: "...given the growth in sustainable or ESG assets over the last several years, I think no matter who is elected, we would have continued to see that growth. There's just tremendous interest." And "...the fact that we've already pulled back from the Clean Power Plan that an announcement on pulling back or out of Paris is imminent, we're told, is really going to push more investors into looking at clean energy and alternatives in the investment process..."
April 20, 2017
This year Capital Intelligence Associates was one of four local businesses featured in the Santa Monica Sustainable Quality Awards INTRODUCTION VIDEO. If you have a few extra minutes, we also uploaded the original DIRECTORS CUT that was produced before being edited for time.
April 1, 2017
It's proxy time again this year. For those who are wondering how to vote on various ESG issues, As You Sow's PROXY VOTING GUIDELINES are a must read.
March 21, 2017
A camera crew came to our offices today to film Capital Intelligence Associates for the opening video of next month's Sustainable Quality Awards. As a past grand prize winner, they wanted to know what sustainability meant to us. If we can get a copy we'll make sure to post it when it's done.
March 9, 2017
We are often asked on how to vote on various proxies for companies our clients own. While we generally do not make specific recommendations, we'll often go over the plusses and minuses of various proposals. For those interested in ESG issues, I recommend reviewing PROXYPREVIEW.ORG. They describe their services as follows:
"This free publication is the #1 resource for shareholders looking to align their values and investments.
"Proxy Preview provides the most comprehensive data on more than 400 resolutions—including corporate political spending, climate change, energy, human rights, diversity, sustainability, and much more.
More than 30 guest authors provide analysis and expert insight to help you navigate the issues and successfully vote your shares."
March 1, 2017
Capital Intelligence Associates was featured in the Sustainable Santa Monica newsletter as the Green Business spotlight for March. The following is what was written:
"Capital Intelligence Associates (CIA) is a full-service wealth planning firm that helps clients successfully accumulate and preserve their assets before life takes unexpected turns - in a green office environment. Capital Intelligence is an excellent example of how a small office can make a big impact. They implement sustainable practices within the walls of their office - and beyond to the multi-story building they are housed in by involving the property manager in their green business efforts.
"Capital Intelligence worked with their building manager to increase water and energy efficiency in all restrooms facility-wide. Restrooms were retrofitted with high efficiency toilets flushing 1.28 gallons and occupancy sensors to activate lights. In effort to green the building janitorial products were provided for custodians to sample - which influenced them to procure regularly. Sustainable Earth by Staples eco-conscious products also implements a no triclosan policy for sanitizing agents.
"Capital Intelligence switched to an Epson Supertank refillable cartridgeless printer - reducing the need to send anything back for recycling. Their printers are default set to print on both sides of paper. Employees refill reusable glasses with water from an onsite filtration system. Kitchen is also stocked with reusable plates, mugs and utensils. As an active member of the Buy Local Santa Monica campaign, and Santa Monica Chamber, CIA supports local businesses and purchase produce directly from the Santa Monica Farmers Market."
February 25, 2017
For those of you who are still relatively new to SRI/ESG investing and want to understand some of the basic themes/vernacular, Forbes just ran an article "HOW TO ALIGN YOUR INVESTMENTS WITH YOUR MORAL COMPASS". The article goes over the basics and the plusses and minuses of past performance.
February 22, 2017
MSCI RECENTLY ANNOUNCED THEIR ESG INDEXES. From their press release: "The MSCI ESG Index Families are designed to support common approaches to environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing, and help institutional investors more effectively benchmark to ESG investment performance as well as manage, measure and report on ESG mandates. MSCI’s ESG Indexes also provide institutional investors with transparency into ESG sustainability and values alignment, together with the ability to compare holdings."
While you can't invest directly in an index, these will be a useful way to track how SRI investments compare to their peers. Having a major company come out with a diverse group of indices is a big plus to ESG community. The biggest change I see in these compared to some of the older ones is that they are not all environmental. They have religious, impact, and values themes among others.
January 31, 2017
For a different prospective on SRI, there was an article posted on the Altegris site entitled "CAN ESG INVESTORS DO WELL WHILE DOING GOOD? " What makes it different is the underlying investments are run by KKR. KKR is known for the history of buying up companies and getting value anyway they can including layoffs, closing down areas, etc. This article is about how they've worked with companies to make them stronger in the ESG space to create a better world and make a profit. While this fund isn't right for most individuals, I think their views in this article show how the world is changing rapidly to look at more than the financial bottom line.
January 7, 2017
Almost every day I have a conversation with a client or friend about what a Trump presidency will do for their investment portfolio. While there are too many factors to really know for sure, we can take educated guesses. Many of my clients wonder what it will mean to their ESG portfolio as Trump's administration creates rules that might not be the best for the Environment, Social and Governance issues. The Wall Street Journal discusses it in their article "TRUMP POLICIES UNLIKELY TO END SUSTAINABLE-INVESTING TREND." To quote the article: "“The responsible-investment movement in not a movement started by Wall Street and it’s not a social movement,” says John Streur, president and chief executive of Calvert Research and Management, a subsidiary of Eaton Vance Corp. that manages more than $10 billion in ESG investments. “It’s a movement from large asset owners and large operating companies who have essentially said, ‘We need to do a better job with resource efficiency, environmental impact and social justice, and all those things matter to the financial results of companies.’ ” "
January 5, 2017
I'm generally very skeptical about articles (or people) who predict what the markets will do in the future. There is too much information for anyone to make much more than an educated guess. Wars, weather, diseases, government actions and such all impact markets on top of the normal economic cycles and individual company performances. Study after study prove that you can't time the market. But occasionally I find some of the articles an interesting read. Today, the New York Times published "2016’S WINNING INVESTORS TALK ABOUT 2017, AND DONALD TRUMP". The article talks about what some investors who did well last year predict for the 2017. Why it's relevant in this blog is one of the three individuals they picked was Jerome L. Dodson who is the founder and president of Parnassus Investments, and lead portfolio manager for the Parnassus Endeavor Fund. To quote the article "In a highly competitive world where cutthroat capitalists scoff at such values, he’s also emerged on top: His Parnassus Endeavor Fund is ranked by Morningstar as the No. 1 fund in its category (large-cap growth) over one-, three-, five- and 10-year periods — a remarkable feat." While I doubt the fund will perform the same for the next 10 years, it's good to know that one can do well while doing good.