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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Making a Difference with Dollars : Local Firm Supports Ethical, Green Investing

Oct 31, 2011 09:39AM ● By Linda Sechrist

Attentive listening is as important for today’s financial advisors, attuned to possible rumblings in the economic marketplace, as it was for the indigenous Indian tribes that laid their ears to the ground to detect the pounding hooves of approaching enemy horsemen, long before the riders could be visibly discerned. Curiosity about what was making the subtle sounds of a coming revolution in the world of finance led Andrew Hill and Jennifer Figurelli to co-found Andrew Hill Investment Advisors, Inc. (AHIA). Today, along with traditional investments, the two Naples residents specialize in socially responsible investing (SRI) practices that “first, do no harm” to humanity or the environment.

The SRI movement began nearly three decades ago among individuals that preferred to invest in alignment with their values and know that their money was working towards a future based on sustainability and the needs of multiple stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, their families and communities. SRI, also referred to as double- or triple-bottom-line investing, or ethical or green investing, is a process that considers the social and environmental consequences of investments, both positive and negative, within the context of rigorous financial analysis.

One of the few registered investment advisors in Southwest Florida that offers expertise in SRI, Hill says that in addition to traditional security analysis, his firm’s SRI strategies have proven effective. “Along with looking at the risk and return criteria, we also ask questions such as: Are the products and services of value to society? Is the company a good corporate citizen, supporting the surrounding community within which it is located? And, is there a diversity and parity within the workforce?” he advises.

According to the Social Investment Forum Foundation’s 2010 report, Socially Responsible Investing Trends in the United States, nearly one out of every eight dollars under professional management is involved in SRI. “Investor demand is growing for portfolio opportunities in clean and green technology, alternative and renewable energy, green building and responsible property development, as well as other environmentally driven businesses,” says Hill. He notes that, in alignment with this month’s Natural Awakenings feature, “Living the New Economy: Changing the Rules to Benefit America’s People,” the fastest growing area of SRI is community investing, which directs capital from investors and lenders to communities that are underserved by traditional financial service institutions.

“We attribute the growing interest in SRI to increasing concerns about limited natural resources, greater awareness of environmental conditions, corporate governance issues and other factors,” advises Hill, who emphasizes that companies which can effectively manage these conditions often have a competitive edge. “Jennifer and I both agree that increasing investor demand for SRI encourages the kind of society that makes for health, happiness, true prosperity, sustainability and flourishing communities in the U.S. and worldwide.”

Location: 4081 Tamiami Trail N., Naples. For more information, call 239-777-3188 or 239-777-3129. Also visit ResponsibleAdvisors.com.

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