Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 65, Issue 4, pp 337-357

Do Socially Responsible Fund Managers Really Invest Differently?

  • Karen L. BensonAffiliated withUQ Business School, The University of Queensland Email author 
  • , Timothy J. BrailsfordAffiliated withUQ Business School, The University of Queensland
  • , Jacquelyn E. HumphreyAffiliated withUQ Business School, The University of Queensland

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To date, research into socially responsible investment (SRI), and in particular the socially responsible investment funds industry, has focused on whether investing in SRI assets has any differential impact on investor returns. Prior findings generally suggest that, on a risk-adjusted basis, there is no difference in performance between SRI and conventional funds. This result has led to questions about whether SRI funds are really any different from conventional funds. This paper examines whether the portfolio allocation across industry sectors and the stock-picking ability of SRI managers are different when compared to conventional fund managers. The study finds that SRI funds exhibit different industry betas consistent with different portfolio positions, but that these differences vary from year to year. It is also found that there is little difference in stock-picking ability between the two groups of fund managers.


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