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Investors can now put their money where their mouth is

By Maxine Shapiro, KERA 90.1 business commentator

Dallas, TX – Though mutual funds fell hard with the rest of the market, it's still peddled as a less risky form of investing. Now you too can put your money where your mouth is...socially responsible or irresponsible. I'm Maxine Shapiro with KERA Marketplace Middays.

Socially Responsible Investing, or SRI, has been around for centuries. It was the Quakers in the 16th century who selected their investments based on their beliefs in human equality and nonviolence. Today, according to a report by the Social Investment Forum, socially responsible investing accounts for about 13% of the $16 trillion or so under professional management just in the U.S. It's not a lot, but it's growing. Criteria varies, as no company is perfect. Is a corporation making a positive contribution to society and the environment? As investors become more active, shareholders responsible investing will become more mainstream. And you probably won't find an SRI fund investing in defense, liquor, tobacco or gambling.

But wait, you're the kind of investor that views your role as a shareholder a little different. You don't like war but you think it's inevitable, so what the heck, why not invest in it? And with all the tension in the atmosphere people, are bound to pick up a cigarette. And you'd much rather go to Las Vegas for vacation than be bothered with hiking in the mountains of Colorado. You don't like the taste of beer, but you gotta admit they must be doing something right if they can afford all those stupid commercials. So here's a mutual fund just for you. The Vice Fund created by of Dallas. That's right, drinking, smoking, gambling and defense, all in one tidy mutual fund. Oh, and I almost left out those violent little video games you won't buy your kids - they're in the fund as well. But don't even think of looking for pornography companies. Quoting one of the fund managers from "We just haven't found any good ones."

See, now you have all kinds of choices. For KERA Marketplace Middays, I'm Maxine Shapiro.

Marketplace Midday Reports air on KERA 90.1 Monday - Friday at 1:04 p.m. To contact Maxine Shapiro, please send emails to