The Humane Society of the United States was incorrectly identified in an article in yesterday's Business section about an animal-friendly mutual fund with which the society is affiliated. (Published 01/21/2000)
You love animals. You can't abide cruelty. You wouldn't buy a fur, even in weather like this. You don't use products that were tested on animals. Maybe you still haven't even forgiven LBJ for pulling that little beagle up by its ears.
But . . . it's the New Economy. The stock market is reaching outlandish heights. You're not opposed to the notion of making money; you're humane, not communist. What to do?
Yesterday, the Humane Society of America and Salomon Brothers Asset Management offered an answer: an animal-friendly mutual fund.
The Humane Equity Fund was kicked off with an $8 million payment by the Humane Society to Salomon, which will pick stocks for the fund from a set of guidelines developed by the society.
Don't look for big cosmetics companies there, or phramaceutical giants--or, for that matter, McDonald's.
The Humane Society, which has long invested its own assets of $80 million "in an animal-friendly manner, has been looking for an opportunity for the public to invest in an animal-friendly manner as well," said Thomas Waite, the society's chief financial officer and treasurer.
All forms of "socially responsible" investment top $2 trillion, according to a November report by the nonprofit Social Investment Forum. The group estimates that 13 percent of the $16.3 trillion in professionally managed investments go through a "social screening."
"There are many 'socially conscious' funds, but there are very few which focus on animal welfare," Waite said. The Humane Society will receive a consulting fee based on the value of the fund. Investments begin at $1,000.
Potential investors might think that any fund that excludes so many sectors has got to be a dog.
But Chad Graves, the portfolio manager for the fund, said Salomon manages $1.3 billion in portfolios for individuals and small institutions that demand animal-friendly stocks, and the results stack up against any other fund. "People don't have to sacrifice returns to invest in this manner," he said.