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Do You Know What You Own?

Investing as a Socially Conscious Consumer

If you are a conscious consumer, you probably make decisions in your day-to-day life to support good businesses and business practices. You may avoid certain products or companies because you disagree with their principles. You may shop locally rather than give your business to giant, multinational corporations. You may make charitable contributions to nonprofits that are active in your community. You may engage in any number of practices that help you spend your money wisely and ethically.

In addition, you probably also have a retirement portfolio and other personal investments, which are invested in a range of securities that likely includes mutual funds and ETFs. Depending on what you own in your portfolio, you may be invested in the very companies you choose to avoid in your day-to-day life. Compared to reading an ingredient list, seeking out locally-made products, or finding a charity whose mission addresses a cause important to you, it can be much more difficult to “know what you own,” or know if your investment choices reflect your values.

In this analysis, we discuss a few issues you may consider in choosing how to spend your money, some common types of funds (and firms) in which you may be invested, and a few steps you can take if you want to ensure your retirement portfolio reflects your values.

This commentary is prepared by Appleseed Capital, the impact investing arm of Pekin Singer Strauss Asset Management, for informational purposes only and is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Short sales theoretically involve unlimited loss potential since the market price of securities sold short may continuously increase. The information contained herein is neither investment advice nor a legal opinion. The views expressed are those of the authors as of the date of publication of this report, and are subject to change at any time due to changes in market or economic conditions. The comments should not be construed as a recommendation of individual holdings or market sectors, but as an illustration of broader themes. Appleseed Capital cannot assure that the type of investments discussed herein will outperform any other investment strategy in the future. Appleseed Capital has in the past invested in some of the companies referenced in this paper and may continue to hold these positions.

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