Investing & Economy

Socially Responsible Investing Grows

Historically, most people focus primarily on the bottom line when it comes to evaluating and making investments in the stock market. Nowadays however, many investors evaluate their investment strategy using many other criteria to judge whether an investment is suitable for their portfolio. Until now, many investors didn’t always think too deeply about how the companies they own and invest in conduct business or make their money – as long as those investments produce a healthy return. But this approach to investing is changing.

Today’s investors are becoming more socially conscious, choosing to put their money toward causes and companies that share their values. This is known as socially responsible investing. For example, some people like to invest in “green” companies because they have a desire to support firms that do positive things for the environment, such as reducing their carbon footprint or using renewable resources. Some people also choose to avoid investing in companies – and the funds that invest in those companies – that have disagreeable practices, such as polluting the environment or producing weapons. Some investors will even move their funds out of companies that treat their employees unfairly, or that are run by CEOs who make sexist or homophobic statements.

warterror400x500According to Mark Langerman, Managing Director and CEO of Empowerment Financial Group, today’s investors can, in fact, marry their core values with their investment strategies. People can achieve equitable and competitive financial returns by choosing companies and investments that fit their belief systems. It’s often a matter of knowing what different companies are actually doing and being educated on their options.

“Most clients are not aware of what is going on in different businesses, and around the world,” said Langerman. “Once they learn that a particular company is doing something wrong, they feel that they have an obligation to do something about it. However, many don’t know what to do, and it’s not uncommon for them to become overwhelmed or paralyzed by too much input. That’s why they turn to us to learn about their investing options.”

Empowerment Financial Group provides tailored financial services, including wealth management, retirement planning, and terrorism-free investing. The firm uses its proprietary Make a Difference® process to focus on what’s important to clients and their families, and pinpoint how its team can help them to capture their ideal life. This enables its wealth managers to concentrate on what can be controlled to help align clients’ financial plans with their values and priorities.

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Langerman is an Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®) and has more than 30 years of wealth management experience. He has managed several brokerage firm branch offices, and has been published or written about in national and local publications, and is a nationally recognized expert on Terrorism Free Investing. He has also served on several boards of directors and is an Emeritus board member of America’s Mighty Warriors.

Investors can pursue specific goals when engaging in socially responsible investing. For example, they can invest in companies and funds that promote environmental stewardship, consumer protection, or human rights. They can pursue impact investing, which involves making investments in companies and funds with the purpose of generating a measurable and beneficial social or environmental impact. Investors can also choose to avoid specific types of companies and investments with strategies such as alcohol, firearms, fossil fuels or pornography.

team1In a bold move within the financial services industry, Empowerment Financial Group created a socially responsible investing strategy called TerrorismFree Investing (TFI). Launched in 2007, TFI was modeled after the South African anti-Apartheid movement of the 1980s, as well as the green investing movement. In essence, this “values-based investment strategy” pre-screens investments in its portfolios to exclude the stocks and bonds of U.S. companies that do business with countries deemed to be state sponsors of terrorism, including Iran, Syria, Sudan and North Korea.

Many U.S. and global companies continue to do business with states that sponsor terrorism, even when there is negative political rhetoric and economic sanctions against those nations. The number of companies moves up and down depending on the profitability of the venture, the amount of public interest in those states, and the consequences of these actions. It’s important to note that these countries would not have robust terrorist economies without Western businesses continuing to fund them. By choosing to follow TFI, U.S. investors can still get competitive returns for their portfolios and participate in fighting the war on terrorism.

“What American investors need to know is that Empowerment Financial Group never considers companies that invest in countries that sponsor terrorism,” said Langerman. “Our clients love this approach, because they want to feel good about where they are investing their money. Investors don’t have to compromise their returns in order to invest along with their morals and values.”

For more information on Empowerment Financial Group, visit: empowermentfg.com

 

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