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Investing, bombs, booze, butts

Have you heard of the Vice Fund?

Profits and Principles, a fascinating article published in the Guardian in 2008, and the 2006 Forbes article Roll of The Dice describe the fund. Daniel Ahrens is co-founder of the Vice Fund.

Proinsias O’Mahoney of the Guardian reports:

“Unashamedly unethical, its founder, Dan Ahrens, even wrote a book entitled Booze, Bets, Bombs and Butts based on its favoured sectors – alcohol, gambling, armaments and pornography – which traditionally have all been excluded from ethical funds. The fund has outperformed the S&P 500, an index of America’s 500 largest firms, in each of its five years of existence and is ranked in the top 2% of US funds.”

On the flip side, there is socially responsible investing.  While researching retirement funds, I came across the concept of socially responsible investment (SRI), which was very appealing to me. What is socially responsible investment?

In the Bloomberg article AHA Fund Beats Rivals With `Responsible’ Energy Picks, Sree Vidya Bhaktavatsalam and Christopher Condon write:

“Socially responsible funds seek to profit without investing in companies engaged in activities they deem ethically reprehensible or detrimental to the environment, with each fund setting its own criteria. “

The controversy over how “ethical” is interpreted in relation to funds is described in the article.  “More people are putting their money into ethical funds. But many might be shocked to learn how it’s being invested.”  Read the complete article Profits and Principles. Other articles on personal investing and SRIs are:

Five Great Green Funds from Kiplinger

Shareholder Shout-out from National Geographic’s The Green Guide

Mutual Interests: Finding Your Way To a Greener Retirement from National Geographic’s The Green Guide

A related article from the Wall Street Journal is Obama Sells Investment With Link to Sudan. It briefly talks about how the Senator transferred his retirement money in that fund to Vanguard’s FTSE Social Index Fund.

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