Canadian Responsible Investment Conference promotes the value of investing with principles

Creating Value, Making a Difference - June 20 - 22, 2011, in Victoria B.C.

Register at www.sioconference.com to discover the latest trends and opportunities in socially responsible investing

To view the Social Media Release, click here: http://smr.newswire.ca/en/social-investment-organization/canadian-responsible-investment-conference

TORONTO, May 9 /CNW/ - Money managers, financial advisors, retail and institutional investors with a social conscience are invited to attend the second annual Canadian Responsible Investment Conference in Victoria, British Columbia, from June 20 to 22.

The three-day conference will examine the latest trends and developments in Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) and will show investors and advisors how they can profit from investing while contributing to positive social change and environmental sustainability.

Measuring how companies stack up based on environmental, social and governance policies is a growing trend in the investing world and one that is capturing greater attention among investors and financial advisors.

"Canadians can foster positive social change that benefits our world through their investing choices," said Eugene Ellmen, executive director of the Social Investment Organization (SIO), a non-profit group that promotes SRI in Canada and is the organizer of the summit.

According to the SIO's recently released survey, Canadian Socially Responsible Investment Review 2010, $530.9 billion in assets are managed according to SRI principles, which is about one-fifth of total assets under management in Canada.

"There's growing interest about environmental and energy issues and the increasing demand for resources and how this will affect the well-being of the planet," said Ellmen. "Canadians are looking for alternative investing options and SRI provides them with an opportunity to invest in line with their values."

The SIO's study also revealed that more institutional and high-net-worth investors are turning to asset managers to implement SRI mandates for them. For example, asset managers who employ a range of SRI approaches managed $46.3 billion in socially responsible investments, an increase from $37.9 billion in 2008.

"Now more than ever investors are interested in seeing their money invested in companies that operate at high standards when it comes to environmental, social and governance standards," added Martin Grosskopf, director of sustainability research and portfolio manager at Acuity Investment Management, a leading money management firm that has a 20-year track record of practicing SRI, which is now part of AGF Investments Inc.

Acuity is also a founding member of the SIO and AGF is a hosting sponsor of the conference.

At the conference, Grosskopf will lead a session entitled, Cleaning up Canada's Resource Sector, which will feature clean tech companies that provide solutions to resource waste, energy use and pollution.

"Clean tech offers long-term growth potential," said Grosskopf. "It provides investors with an opportunity to own innovative companies in emerging sectors that can offer clean technology solutions to growing environmental impacts."

Ellmen believes that the growing popularity in SRI amongst investors presents a new horizon for financial advisors. "It's a chance for advisors to grow their client base and help investors that are interested in building ethical investment portfolios," he said.

At the end of June 2010, SRI retail investment fund assets totaled $25.3 billion, a 14% increase from 2008. 

Additional Conference Highlights

About 275 retail and institutional investors are expected to attend the event located at The Fairmont Empress Hotel and adjacent Victoria Conference Centre in BC. The conference will feature a range of seminars that tackle topical issues such as the demand for energy and the challenges facing the oil and gas industry.

Advisors would be interested in several intensive sessions aimed at increasing their SRI knowledge.

Investment Advisor Gail Taylor will present on shifting a traditional advisory practice to SRI. Nancy McHarg from Hoggan & Associates will address the state of sustainability in the minds of investors. Her presentation will be followed by a panel discussion on how public perception of sustainability issues is impacting media coverage and the marketing of SRI.

Venture capitalist Tom Rand, author of Kicking the Fossil fuel Habit: 10 clean Technologies to Save Our World, and David Collyer, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, will discuss Canada's energy future.

Renowned futurist Hazel Henderson, founder of Ethical Markets Media LLC, will provide attendees with an update on her groundbreaking work in developing a Green Transition Scoreboard to track private sector investment in green economies worldwide.

Other sessions will include:

  • The SRI Brand, what's working and what isn't
  • Canada's oil industry and investor engagement
  • Canada's energy future
  • Executive compensation and corporate governance
  • Trends and developments in renewable energy investment
  • Conflict minerals and new technologies

Facts about Socially Responsible Investing Studies show that SRI has become an important measure when making investing decisions by both retail and institutional investors.

Quotes

"Financial advisors tell us that they are hearing more from their clients about how they [advisors] should learn about socially responsible investing."

Eugene Ellmen, Executive Director, Social Investment Organization

"One of the key advantages of investing in SRI funds is the opportunity to apply a whole range of analysis that is not done with conventional portfolios. At Acuity, in addition to the rigorous financial analysis, we also apply additional criteria to companies - environmental social and governance criteria - in our social values funds which allow us to select companies that outperform on financial metrics as well as environmental, social and governance factors."

Martin Grosskopf, Director of Sustainability Research and Portfolio Manager, Acuity Investment Management

"Clients who invest in an SRI fund can own a well diversified portfolio of companies that are better able to respond to emerging trends and manage risk while at the same time being better corporate citizens."

Rachel Davies, Associate Portfolio Manager, Acuity Investment Management

"Any investor who takes a long-term view is beginning to understand that sustainability is no longer an idea but is essentially what underpins economy 2.0. If the economy is to continue to grow, it can't do it using fossil fuels. We now know high carbon growth is self defeating. Anybody with a long-term view needs to get in engaged now to learn how they can play a role in making a transition to a low carbon economy."

Tom Rand, Venture capitalist, entrepreneur and author of Kicking the Fossil fuel Habit: 10 clean Technologies to Save Our World.

About Social Investment Organization
The Social Investment Organization is the national association for socially responsible investment in Canada. Its members include fund companies, asset management firms, institutional investors, pension funds, financial advisors and consultants.

About AGF Management Limited
AGF Management Limited is one of Canada's premier independent investment solutions firms with offices across Canada and subsidiaries around the world. AGF's products include a diversified family of award-winning mutual funds, mutual fund wrap programs and pooled funds. AGF also manages assets on behalf of institutional investors including pension plans, foundations and endowments as well as for private clients. In addition, AGF Trust is a complementary business that offers GICs, loans and mortgages through the financial advisor and mortgage broker channels. With over $52 billion in total assets under management, AGF serves more than one million investors. AGF trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol AGF.B.

/NOTE TO EDITORS: Media Assets accompanying this story are available as follows:

Photos:

1)     http://smr.newswire.ca/media/articles/1266/Updated_Investing.png

2)     http://smr.newswire.ca/media/articles/1266/Canadians_Sustainability.png

3)     http://smr.newswire.ca/media/articles/1266/sio-logo-2011-03-english-rgb.jpg

Video: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/mmnr/smr/110322_AGF_SDWV_SMR.mov

SOURCE Social Investment Organization

For further information:

Sarah Thomson

Associate Director, Communications, Membership and Advisor Services
Social Investment Organization
416-461-6042 ext. 113
thomson@socialinvestment.ca

Karen Archer

Manager, Public Relations and Public Affairs
AGF Investments Inc.
416-865-4295
Karen.archer@agf.com

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