Investing in Socially Responsible Mutual Funds
University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School, Finance Department
Robert F. Stambaugh
University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School
We construct optimal portfolios of mutual funds whose objectives include socially responsible investment (SRI). Comparing portfolios of these funds to those constructed from the broader fund universe reveals the cost of imposing the SRI constraint on investors seeking the highest Sharpe ratio. This SRI cost depends crucially on the investor's views about asset pricing models and stock-picking skill by fund managers. To an investor who believes strongly in the CAPM and rules out managerial skill, i.e. a market-index investor, the cost of the SRI constraint is typically just a few basis points per month, measured in certainly-equivalent loss. To an investor who still disallows skill but instead believes to some degree in pricing models that associate higher returns with exposures to size, value, and momentum factors, the SRI constraint is much costlier, typically by at least 30 basis points per month. The SRI constraint imposes large costs on investors whose beliefs allow a substantial amount of fund-manager skill, i.e., investors who rely heavily on individual funds' track records to predict future performance.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 56
Keywords: socially responsible investing, mutual funds, portfolio selection
JEL Classification: G11, G12, C11
Date posted: July 22, 2003
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