Responsible Investment

FSinsight is pleased to announce the winnerof the 2012 Moskowitz Prize for SRI

October 3, 2012
Image ‘Gold Medal’ by Larry McCombs (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

PietraRivoli, deputy dean and professor, McDonough School of Business at GeorgetownUniversity and a longtime Moskowitz judge, presentedthe 2012 Moskowitz prize to the winners last night at the 23rd SRI Conference. The prize-winners are: Elroy Dimson, emeritus professor of finance, LondonBusiness School; Oğuzhan Karakaş, assistant professor, CarrollSchool of Management, Boston College; and Xi Li, assistant professor, FoxSchool of Business, Temple University.

Dimson,Karakaş, and Li examined highly intensive shareholder engagements onenvironmental, social, and governance issues from 1999 to 2009.  Their findings suggest that CSR activismcreates shareholder value, consistent but in a different scale compared withtraditional shareholder activism or hedge fund activism.

The winning paper, “Active Ownership,” was previously presented as a working papertitled, “Activism on Corporate Social Responsibility,” at theInquire Europe & Inquire UK 2012 Spring Seminarand Financial Management Association 2012 European Conference.  The research shows that the average one-yearabnormal return (also known as the excess or “alpha” return) after initialengagement is 1.8 percent—just in-between the excess return of 4.4 percent for successfulCSR investor engagements with U.S. companies, and zero for unsuccessful ones.

Thepositive returns documented were most pronounced for engagements on the themesof corporate governance and climate change. Firms with more reputational concerns and higher capacity to implementCSR changes were found more likely to be targeted by CSR activists, and more successful in achieving the engagement objectives.  Targeted firms experienced improvements inoperating performance, profitability, efficiency, and governance indices aftersuccessful engagements.  The paper’sfindings provide new evidence on the value of shareholder activism on CSRissues.

Dozensof academic studies were submitted over the summer 2012 to be considered forthe Moskowitz Prize.  Lloyd Kurtz,lecturer at the Berkeley-Haas Center for Responsible Business, Moskowitz Prize administrator, and chief investment officer at Nelson Capital Management, said:  “We had a very competitive year in2012, with nine judges reviewing over 40 studies in detail, so the winning teamcan take credit for a very strong showing, and a very strong research effort.”

TheMoskowitz Prize encourages and recognizes outstanding academic research onmatters germane to the field of responsible investing.  The $5,000 Moskowitz Prize is named forMilton Moskowitz, one of the first investigators to publish comparisons of thefinancial performance of screened and unscreened portfolios.

Sinceits inception in 1996, the Moskowitz Prize has been awarded annually at the SRIConference, the largest and longest running conference serving investors andinvestment professionals in the sustainable, responsible, impact (SRI)investment industry in North America. The SRI Conference is produced by First Affirmative Financial Network,and the Moskowitz Prize is managed by the Berkeley-Haas Center for ResponsibleBusiness.  More information about theprize is available at: http://responsiblebusiness.haas.berkeley.edu/programs/moskowitzresearchprogram.html.

The 2012 Moskowitz Prize sponsorsinclude CalvertGroup, First AffirmativeFinancial Network, Nelson CapitalManagement, Rockefeller and Co., Neuberger Berman, and Trillium Asset Management.

About theCenter for Responsible Business at The Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley

TheCenter for Responsible Business (http://responsiblebusiness.haas.berkeley.edu) isan “action tank” that builds on the Haas School of Business’ (http://www.haas.berkeley.edu) culture of innovation and UC Berkeley’s tradition to run–not walk–towardssocial progress.  Building upon nearly adecade of research, teaching and industry engagement, the Center forResponsible Business brings together students, company leaders, and forward-thinking faculty to redefine good business for a sustainable future.

About The SRI Conference

TheSRI Conference (http://www.SRIconference.com) is the premier forum forinvestors and investment professionals engaged in the sustainable, responsible,impact (SRI) investment industry.

About First AffirmativeFinancial Network

FirstAffirmative Financial Network, LLC (http://www.firstaffirmative.com) isan independent Registered Investment Advisor (SEC File #801-56587) offeringinvestment consulting and asset management services through a nationwidenetwork of investment professionals who specialize in serving sociallyconscious investors.  First Affirmativeproduces The SRI Conference (http://www.SRIconference.com).

Media Contacts

Member of the FSinsight Editorial Board Lloyd Kurtz, lecturer of social investing at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, is the program administrator for the Moskowitz Prize, which is awarded by the Center for Responsible Business every year since 1996. Lloyd is also the initiator of sristudies.org, a highly informative online annotated bibliography of studies of socially responsible investing which is now (also) being hosted by FSinsight.

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