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Jan 30: Vancity & Real Assets

Canada's First Full-Service Investment Management Firm to Focus Entirely on Socially

Vancouver, January 30, 2001 - Vancity Credit Union and Real Assets Investment Management Inc. today announced their innovative new partnership and the launch of Real Assets, Canada's first, full-service investment management firm to focus entirely on socially responsible investing [SRI].

Vancouver-based Real Assets offers SRI options to individuals, charitable foundations, corporations and other institutions. The company provides discretionary investment management through socially screened managed portfolios and socially screened index pooled funds.

"There is a substantial and growing demand in Canada for socially screened investment options that reflect the social and environmental concerns of investors while delivering competitive returns," says Deb Abbey, CEO of Real Assets.

With this new partnership, Vancity becomes Canada's financial institution offering the broadest selection of high-impact socially responsible investment options to its members.

"Vancity is a leader in socially responsible investing in Canada," says Vancity CEO Dave Mowat. "We pioneered the Ethical Growth Fund in 1986 and offer our members a range of SRI options to meet their investment needs. Deb Abbey has emerged as one of the country's leading authorities on socially responsible investing and our new partnership with her and Real Assets is an important opportunity for Vancity to combine strong business performance with strong values, while staying on the cutting edge of SRI."

Real Assets screens investments and eliminates companies from its portfolios if they derive significant revenues from military weapons systems, tobacco products, gambling, alcohol or nuclear power. Real Assets also reviews corporate scorecards in areas such as environmental performance, business practices, diversity, employee relations, products and human rights.

"There is a growing body of evidence that corporations are paying attention to pressure from shareholders and other stakeholders," says Abbey. "As more capital seeks clean investments, more companies will strive to meet higher standards for behaviour and accountability. At Real Assets, we will engage in meaningful dialogue with companies on our clients' behalf."

Vancity is Canada's largest credit union, with $6.9 billion in assets, 263,000 members and 39 branches throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Victoria. Vancity owns Citizens Bank of Canada, serving members across the country by telephone, ATM, and the Internet. Vancity, Citizens Bank and Real Assets are guided by a commitment to corporate social responsibility. Vancity was the first financial institution in Canada to be a signatory to the CERES (Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies) Principles, a 10-point environmental ethic for corporations.