Socially Responsible Investing: ALPS Workplace Equality ETF
The newest entrant into the socially responsible investing world is the ALPS Workplace Equality ETF (EQLT).
The premise of EQLT is to focus on “America’s leading equality-minded corporations.” Meaning EQLT will track those firms that provide support and benefits to their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees.
EQLT uses the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index and only selects stocks that score 100% in the metric. The metric basically looks at a firms hiring practices and whether or not they provide healthcare and other benefits to same-sex partners or spouses. Currently, EQLT has around 162 different holdings.
However, the kicker for EQLT is that many of its holdings — like spirits maker Brown-Forman (BF.B) or casino operator Caesars (CZR) — aren’t necessarily typical ESG fair. That could turn off some investors looking at EQLT for socially responsible investing. Another potential problem for the new fund is its hefty 0.75% expense ratio.
The space is still pretty new, so the choices are a bit limited, but if you’re interested in socially responsible investing, these funds are your best bets.
As of this writing, Aaron Levitt did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.