December 01, 2014

Could a “Vanguard FTSE Social Index Fund” purchase debt of a sovereign like Venezuela, which violates human rights?

Sir I refer to Madison Marriage report in FTfm “Funds in cluster bomb ‘hall of shame’” December 1.

Therein “a spokesperson for Vanguard, which oversees $3tn of assets said:

“For US investors who wish to choose investments based on social and personal beliefs, we offer the Vanguard FTSE Social Index Fund, which excludes companies involved with firearms, tobacco, alcohol, adult entertainment, gambling, nuclear power, or those that violate fair labour practices and equal opportunity standards”.

Holy moly, what a mixture of issues! Questions:

How were for instance adult entertainment and gambling thrown into the same bag as nuclear power and equal opportunity standards?

Have strippers and croupiers not the right to an equal opportunity of seeing their jobs financed?

Considering the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (Regulation B) in the US, are these types of funds really legal?

Has not planet earth right to nuclear power in order to avoid having to more coal that is more dangerous for the environment?

Is there a fund that excludes countries, like Germany, which now are dismantling the use of nuclear power?

In general are there any sovereigns excluded? What about for instance the purchase of Venezuelan debt when the UN Human Rights Chief urges it to release arbitrarily detained protestors and politicians?

As a citizen, more than credit ratings, I would perhaps want to see more use of ethic and good governance ratings.