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The Performance of Socially Responsible Funds: Does the Screening Process Matter?

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  • Gunther Capelle†Blancard
  • Stéphanie Monjon

Abstract

In this study, we examine whether the financial performances of socially responsible investment (SRI) mutual funds are related to the features of the screening process. Based on a sample of French SRI funds, we find evidence that a greater screening intensity slightly reduces financial performance (but the relationship runs in the opposite direction when screening gets tougher). Further, we show that only sectoral screens – such as avoiding ‘sin’ stocks – decrease financial performance, while transversal screens – commitment to UN Global Compact Principles, ILO/Rights at Work, etc. – have no impact. Lastly, when the quality of the SRI selection process is proxied by the rating provided by Novethic, its impact is not significant, while a higher strategy distinctiveness amongst SRI funds, which also gives information on the quality of the selection process, is associated with better financial performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Gunther Capelle†Blancard & Stéphanie Monjon, 2014. "The Performance of Socially Responsible Funds: Does the Screening Process Matter?," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 20(3), pages 494-520, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:eufman:v:20:y:2014:i:3:p:494-520
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-036X.2012.00643.x
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-036X.2012.00643.x
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    4. Barkó, Tamás & Cremers, M. & Renneboog, Luc, 2017. "Shareholder Engagement on Environmental, Social, and Governance Performance," Other publications TiSEM bb1f0349-1f6f-49a4-9d62-1, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    5. Bertrand, Philippe & Lapointe, Vincent, 2015. "How performance of risk-based strategies is modified by socially responsible investment universe?," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 175-190.
    6. Carmen Pilar Martí Ballester, 2020. "Does Concurrent Management of Mutual Funds and Pension Plans Create Conflicts of Interest?," Ensayos de Economía 018307, Universidad Nacional de Colombia Sede Medellín.
    7. Manuel Ammann & Christopher Bauer & Sebastian Fischer & Philipp Müller, 2019. "The impact of the Morningstar Sustainability Rating on mutual fund flows," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 25(3), pages 520-553, June.
    8. Xing Chen & Bert Scholtens, 2018. "The urge to act: A comparison of active and passive socially responsible investment funds in the United States," Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 25(6), pages 1154-1173, November.
    9. Federica Ielasi & Monica Rossolini, 2019. "Responsible or Thematic? The True Nature of Sustainability-Themed Mutual Funds," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(12), pages 1-17, June.
    10. José Luis Miralles-Quirós & María Mar Miralles-Quirós & José Manuel Nogueira, 2020. "Sustainable Development Goals and Investment Strategies: The Profitability of Using Five-Factor Fama-French Alphas," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(5), pages 1-16, February.
    11. Alexandra Huang, 2019. "Déterminants des encours nationaux socialement responsables : Une analyse exploratoire internationale," Working Papers hal-02242796, HAL.
    12. Arnaud Gougler & Sebastian Utz, 2020. "Factor exposures and diversification: Are sustainably screened portfolios any different?," Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, Springer;Swiss Society for Financial Market Research, vol. 34(3), pages 221-249, September.
    13. Andreas G. F. Hoepner & Lisa Schopohl, 2018. "On the Price of Morals in Markets: An Empirical Study of the Swedish AP-Funds and the Norwegian Government Pension Fund," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 151(3), pages 665-692, September.
    14. Luluk Widyawati, 2020. "A systematic literature review of socially responsible investment and environmental social governance metrics," Business Strategy and the Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(2), pages 619-637, February.
    15. Timo Busch & Gunnar Friede, 2018. "The Robustness of the Corporate Social and Financial Performance Relation: A Second‐Order Meta‐Analysis," Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 25(4), pages 583-608, July.
    16. Guillermo Badía & Maria C. Cortez & Luis Ferruz, 2020. "Socially responsible investing worldwide: Do markets value corporate social responsibility?," Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 27(6), pages 2751-2764, November.
    17. Sangki Lee & Insu Kim & Chung-hun Hong, 2019. "Who Values Corporate Social Responsibility in the Korean Stock Market?," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(21), pages 1-14, October.
    18. Yue Qi & Xiaolin Li, 2020. "On Imposing ESG Constraints of Portfolio Selection for Sustainable Investment and Comparing the Efficient Frontiers in the Weight Space," SAGE Open, , vol. 10(4), pages 21582440209, December.
    19. Ilayda Nemlioglu & Sushanta K. Mallick, 2017. "Do Managerial Practices Matter in Innovation and Firm Performance Relations? New Evidence from the UK," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 23(5), pages 1016-1061, October.
    20. Chen, Hong-Yi & Yang, Sharon S., 2020. "Do Investors exaggerate corporate ESG information? Evidence of the ESG momentum effect in the Taiwanese market," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 63(C).
    21. Laura Fabregat-Aibar & M. Glòria Barberà-Mariné & Antonio Terceño & Laia Pié, 2019. "A Bibliometric and Visualization Analysis of Socially Responsible Funds," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(9), pages 1-17, May.
    22. El Ouadghiri, Imane & Guesmi, Khaled & Peillex, Jonathan & Ziegler, Andreas, 2021. "Public Attention to Environmental Issues and Stock Market Returns," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 180(C).

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