Responsible investing in South Africa? a retail perspective

Viviers, Suzette ; Firer, Colin (2013)

CITATION: Viviers, S. & Firer, C. 2013. Responsible investing in South Africa? a retail perspective. Journal of Economic and Financial Sciences, 6(1):a285, doi:10.4102/jef.v6i1.285.

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This research addresses a gap in the literature on responsible investing (RI) in South Africa by studying the risk-adjusted performance of RI unit trusts available to retail investors. The Sharpe, Sortino and Upside-potential ratios for 16 RI unit trusts, their benchmarks and a matched sample of conventional unit trusts were calculated for the period 1 June 1992 – 31 August 2011. Most of the RI unit trusts in South Africa use exclusionary screens based on Shari’ah (Islamic) law with the remaining funds focusing on social issues, such as labour relations and social development. The total expense ratios of RI unit trusts are slightly higher than those of conventional funds, but no different from that of their benchmarks or a matched sample of conventional unit trusts. It is suggested that local assets managers expand the range of retail RI unit trusts available in the country.

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