Wednesday 23 October 2019

World's first Vegan ETF sets out to target ethically minded investors

Beyond Advisors’ Claire Smith
Beyond Advisors’ Claire Smith

Sophie Kevany

The world's first Vegan Climate Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) will open to investors in January after it registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission in September.

Investment opportunities for committed vegans are limited. Anything that involves eating or testing on animals, along with sectors such as arms and tobacco, are all off the menu.

Jersey-based firm Beyond Advisors is behind the Vegan Climate ETF - its four-letter New York Stock Exchange ticker will read VEGN.

Minimum investment is one share, costing $25 (€22) at launch. Its structure will be the same as any other ETF, said Beyond Advisors CEO Claire Smith.

The annual expense ratio is 0.60pc, or $6 per $1,000 invested. That's high compared to some mainstream ETFs. But Ms Smith and her partners, Lee Coates and Larry Abele (all vegan), expect animal rights activists and environmentalists to jump at it.

The investment product is constructed primarily by excluding from the universe of the Solactive US Large Cap index (a proxy for the S&P 500 Index) any stocks whose activities are incompatible with a vegan and climate-conscious approach to investing.

Goodbody's head of advisory services Michelle O'Keefe said some Irish investors will be interested, "especially because of the climate angle".

"I'd expect it to be replicated by an EU-based fund manager at some point," she said.

Investors such as charities, not-for-profits and religious increasingly try to align investment strategies with their stated values. "We expect individual investors to begin scrutinising their portfolios in the same way," Ms O'Keefe said.

Irish Independent

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