Social Justice Investing

Socially Responsible Investing is Broken

After more than a decade advising our clients on how to align their progressive values with their investment dollars, we discovered a disturbing trend in socially responsible investing (SRI).

What happened to SRI?
Investment managers feared missing out on the recovery after the Great Recession, so they made a disastrous industry-wide shift. They quietly migrated from using “negative” to “best-in-class” social screens (non-financial rules SRI investment managers follow when investing). Negative social screens allow investment in socially responsible companies and forbid investing in companies that harm people and the planet. Best-in-class social screens are deceptive; they allow investment in the most socially responsible companies in an industry. For example, currently, ExxonMobil stock is often found in SRI portfolios because it is considered the most socially responsible company in the Oil & Gas sector.

How did this happen?
The lack of transparency and accountability in traditional SRI are mostly to blame. Investment managers generally dictate the social screens and communicate very little with investors about how they are interpreted. When the social screen changes (for example, becoming best-in-class) it can be difficult for an investor to recognize the shift and understand what is happening in the portfolio. It’s also a problem when the investment manager does not share the values of the investors. SRI investment managers are primarily those with historical access to wealth, power, and class privilege and their social screens prioritize what will sound good to investors rather than the investors’ actual values.

What can we do?
Like so many other movements in our modern world, we recognized the power of community. We looked at a sea of isolated SRI investors and saw a progressive community with wisdom and values that weren’t being reflected in their investments. Out of our commitment to reclaim SRI for progressive investors, we developed the RISE (Return on Investment & Social Equity) Portfolios, an innovative and more authentic approach to socially responsible investing. RISE pairs a robust, evidence-based investment strategy with the first ever and only community-developed social justice screen. This groundbreaking shift in SRI ensures that the collective values of the investors and the social justice community are always reflected in the portfolios we create.

What is RISE?

RISE is a set of investment portfolios managed by Robasciotti & Philipson, a wealth management firm living progressive values for over a decade. The RISE Portfolios combine an evidence-based investment strategy with a social screen developed by the RISE Community of investors. The RISE Community is supported in articulating their values and maintains the RISE Social Screen in collaboration with the investment managers. Together, we’re transforming socially responsible investing into social justice investing!

Learn more about how RISE works below.

RISE Social Screen
Check out our current social screen.
RISE Community
Learn more about the community of investors.

Put Your Principles into Practice!
Tell us more about yourself.
Get Started

Questions? We have answers!

Find them on our Frequently Asked Questions page or contact us directly.