Is Ethical Money Financially Smart?

52 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2006 Last revised: 23 Dec 2019

See all articles by Luc Renneboog

Luc Renneboog

Tilburg University - Department of Finance; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI); Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC)

Jenke ter Horst

TIAS School for Business and Society

Chendi Zhang

University of Exeter Business School

Date Written: February 1, 2006

Abstract

Little is known about how investors select socially responsible investment (SRI) funds. Investors in SRI funds may care more about social or ethical issues in their investment decisions than about fund performance. This paper studies the money-flows into and out of the SRI funds around the world. We find that ethical money chases past returns. In contrast to conventional funds' investors, SRI investors care less about the funds' riskiness and fees. Funds characterized by shareholder activism and by in-house SRI research attract more stable investors. Membership of a large SRI fund family creates higher flow volatility due to the lower fees to reallocate money within the fund family. SRI funds receiving most of the money-inflows perform worse in the future, which is consistent with theories of decreasing returns to scale in the mutual fund industry. Finally, funds employing a higher number of SRI screens to model their investment universe receive larger money-inflows and perform better in the future than focused funds.

Keywords: money-flows, ethical funds, socially responsible investing, persistence in performance, investment screens, corporate governance screens, SRI

JEL Classification: G10, G19

Suggested Citation

Renneboog, Luc and ter Horst, Jenke R. and Zhang, Chendi, Is Ethical Money Financially Smart? (February 1, 2006). ECGI - Finance Working Paper No. 117/2006, CentER Discussion Paper No. 2006-09, WBS Finance Group Research Paper No. 52, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=887162 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.887162

Luc Renneboog

Tilburg University - Department of Finance ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Warandelaan 2
5000 LE Tilburg
Netherlands
+13 31 466 8210 (Phone)
+13 31 466 2875 (Fax)

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
Rue Ducale 1 Hertogsstraat
1000 Brussels
Belgium

Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC)

Warandelaan 2
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

Jenke R. Ter Horst

TIAS School for Business and Society ( email )

Warandelaan 2
TIAS Building
Tilburg, Noord Brabant 5037 AB
Netherlands

Chendi Zhang (Contact Author)

University of Exeter Business School ( email )

Streatham Court
Xfi Building, Rennes Dr.
Exeter, EX4 4JH
United Kingdom

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