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Exploring the strategic variety of socially responsible investment: Financial performance insights about SRI strategy portfolios

Ana Ivanisevic Hernaus (Department of Finance, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Economics and Business, Zagreb, Croatia)

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal

ISSN: 2040-8021

Article publication date: 10 June 2019

Issue publication date: 9 July 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to segment and profile socially responsible investment (SRI) funds based on investment strategies they use. Specifically, the paper investigates how different SRI strategies are applied and how they are related to fund-level characteristics, with the goal of recognising their potential dominant combinations in SRI practice.

Design/methodology/approach

Cluster analysis was complemented with one-way ANOVA to classify 147 SRI funds from 11 European countries into different groups based on the diversification (number and type) and application (intensity of usage) of the investment strategies. Discriminant analysis and chi-square tests were conducted to profile the clusters. Financial performance was examined by running multiple hierarchical regression and dominance analyses to determine meaningfulness of particular investment strategies within each of the SRI fund clusters.

Findings

Three basic SRI fund clusters were recognised: strong-intensity strategic heterogeneity, weak-intensity strategic heterogeneity and weak-intensity strategic homogeneity. The combination of SRI strategies used in the weak-intensity strategic homogeneity cluster significantly explained the variance in mid-term financial returns.

Practical implications

Fund managers may use these results to make more informed investment decisions on the selection and the application of SRI strategies.

Social implications

Financial industry has significant and broad and not only economic but also social implications. This research effort results in better understanding of the SRI universe, potentially leading to a broader consideration of the societal impact of financial investment.

Originality/value

The author provided useful insights into existing bundles of SRI strategies used in the European SRI market, recognised dominant investment strategies within SRI strategy portfolios and reported how strategic variety is related to fund-level characteristics.

Keywords

Citation

Ivanisevic Hernaus, A. (2019), "Exploring the strategic variety of socially responsible investment: Financial performance insights about SRI strategy portfolios", Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 545-569. https://doi.org/10.1108/SAMPJ-07-2018-0182

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited