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January 25

Socially responsible investing at a tipping point - Vancity prepares for surging interest with new mutual funds

Vancouver, January 25, 2007 - As Canadians become increasingly concerned about the environment, Vancity is preparing for a surge of interest in socially responsible investing with the launch of a new mutual fund family.

Vancity, Canada's largest credit union, in partnership with its socially responsible investment subsidiary Inhance Investment Management Inc., is the first full-service financial institution to offer its own socially-responsible mutual fund.

Launched in time for RRSP season, the Vancity Circadian Funds will invest in companies that use progressive social, environmental and governance practices in managing their businesses.

According to a recent poll from Decima Research, the environment is now the top issue for Canadians. This is something that Vancity is expecting will translate into a heightened interest in socially responsible investments (SRI).

"SRI is at a tipping point," says Steve Eccles, Vancity's Vice-president of Investment Management. "Our members say they're interested in investing responsibly and we believe that Canadians are moving in this direction too. Environmental issues aren't going away and more investors are starting to ask themselves - how green is my RRSP portfolio? Am I investing in responsible companies? And, can I do this without sacrificing returns?"

The answer is a resounding “yes” according to Kerry Ho, CEO of Inhance Investment Management Inc. He says that Inhance, which takes into account both SRI and financial performance criteria in the investment process and shareholder activism on its funds, has been managing SRI funds for six years and has seen consistently good performance.

Last year, the Jantzi Social Index, the Canadian index that evaluates socially responsible investments, returned almost two per cent more than companies listed on the major Canadian composite indexes.

“By taking traditional investment wisdom and adding a layer of responsibility we are seeing our investors getting more sustainable returns over the long term,” Ho says. "It won't be long before mainstream investors are on board in big way."

Eccles is counting on it. He believes that Vancity's reputation as one of BC's most respected companies, together with Inhance's SRI experience, is a powerful combination.

"Vancity has been focused on social responsibility for our 60-year history," Eccles says. "We're not jumping on any SRI bandwagon here, we're driving the thing."

The Vancity Group includes Vancity and its subsidiaries, including Citizens Bank of Canada. Vancity is Canada's largest Credit Union with $12 billion in assets, 354,000 members, and 47 branches throughout Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Victoria. Vancity owns Citizens Bank of Canada, serving members across the country by telephone, ATM, and the Internet. Both Vancity and Citizens Bank are guided by a commitment to corporate social responsibility, and to improve the quality of life in the communities where we live and work. Visit Vancity's website at

Inhance is the only investment company in Canada that provides Return on ResponsibilityTM by integrating active in-house portfolio management into a unique investment approach that incorporates environmental, social and governance performance into traditional financial analysis. Inhance is majority owned by Vancity. Inhance Investment Management Inc. offers five mutual funds that are available, by prospectus, through investment dealers across Canada, excluding Quebec. For more information, visit