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Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I invest responsibly?

Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) provides a real force for global change. A professionally managed SRI portfolio can help you realize your financial goals, as well as increasing corporate accountability to employees, consumers, and the environment. In addition, Progressive Asset Management/Boston clients can support investment options that can have a direct impact on local communities by providing needed funding for housing, health care, small business development, and other initiatives. 

When you invest with your values, you join a growing movement whose combined value is now over $6 trillion – representing around 18% of total assets under management in the United States. [Source: US Social Investment Forum]

What sort of issues do socially responsible investors consider?

Responsible investors typically remove, or “screen,” certain companies from their portfolios. For example, a fossil fuel free portfolio will not include companies that mine coal; such companies are said to be “screened out” of the portfolio. Conversely, a different strategy may seek to invest in renewable energy companies, or those with a strong track record regarding diversity, labor relations, or other environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices.

ESG issues commonly considered by Progressive Asset Mangement/Boston clients include include:

  • Fossil Fuels and Nuclear Power
  • Renewable Energy and Conservation
  • Corporate Governance and Ethical Practices
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
  • Military Contracting and/or Nuclear Weapons
  • Sweatshops, Outsourcing and Fair Labor Practices
  • Human Rights and Equal Opportunity
  • Tobacco, Alcohol, Gambling and Adult Entertainment
  • Relations with Repressive Regimes
  • Animal Rights/Product Testing
  • And More - What's important to you? Our research has expanded to cover many issues that our clients care about - more than 20 topics to date.

What do “SRI” and “ESG” stand for?

“SRI” stands for socially responsible investing, which is a term used by investors who consider the environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) practices of the businesses in which they invest.

Other terms related to SRI include ethical, sustainable, values-based, and impact investing. All of these describe approaches that incorporate ESG factors into the decision to either invest in a company, or to avoid – or “screen” – that company.

Will investing responsibly hurt my financial returns?

Many well-intentioned investors have shied away from investing in accordance with their values, because they believe that SRI strategies will limit the performance of their investments. Over the past 25 years, numerous studies have proved that this perception is not necessarily true. In many cases, SRI portfolios have tracked and sometimes exceeded market benchmark performance over the long term.

Today, more investors than ever before are incorporating ESG factors into their investment strategies, as poor labor, environmental, and governance practices are seen as sources of potential investment risk. From our perspective, companies that mismanage ESG issues face greater risks related to regulatory violations, litigation, boycotts, and strikes.

We believe that ESG-focused investing can help you keep latent risks and liabilities out of your portfolio, while also identifying positive practices that can potentially strengthen financial performance in the future.   

How can you help me invest responsibly?

We can:

  • Prepare a portfolio that addresses your most important financial needs, including retirement plan funding, education funding, and charitable gifting.
  • Apply your ethical and environmental standards to every investment decision we make or recommend.
  • Provide diversified asset allocation, balancing your needs for growth and income with your risk tolerance and values.
  • Access a wide selection of investment choices, including custom stock and bond portfolios, mutual funds, insurance, and banking services.
  • Monitor your investment performance, and let you know how you’re doing. Working with Progressive Asset Management/Boston means speaking directly to the professionals in our office in Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts. Attentive, personalized socially responsible investing is our entire business; your ethical and financial priorities are ours as well.

How are your advisors compensated?

PAM Boston advisors are typically compensated through a fee on the assets we manage on behalf of our clients. Where appropriate for a small percentage of clients, we do offer some services compensated by a fee on transactions.

Your long-term financial security is the foundation of our business - we work only for you.

Is it difficult to begin investing with you, if I’m currently working with another advisor?

Engaging us to manage your portfolio isn’t difficult. If you already have a financial advisor, we can work with him/her to ensure a smooth transition. Keep in mind that you don’t need “permission” from your existing advisor before working with a new advisor. And once you’ve opened an account with us, we can take care of any necessary legwork as part of the transition.

Can you help me with my employer-sponsored 401(k) or 403(b)?

Our relationships enable us to work directly with some employer-sponsored retirement plans. Contact us to learn about the socially responsible options that may be available through your current 401(k) plan, the SIMPLE IRA offered by small businesses, or the 403(b) plans offered by nonprofits. We can also help you roll over retirement savings from your former job into a new SRI-focused rollover IRA – without tax penalties.

Your firm is independent, but part of a larger network. How does that work?

Through our broker-dealer relationship with Securities America, Inc. and our custodial and clearing relationship with National Financial Services (a division of Fidelity Investments), we offer a broad range of investment offerings and services to individuals, families, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and institutions.

Founded in 1984, Securities America, Inc. is an independent broker-dealer that facilitates the buying and selling of securities on behalf of the clients of registered advisor representatives. Securities America provides extensive technology, compliance and operational support for the Progressive Asset Management tea, which helps us offer comprehensive and professional service to our clients throughout the US.

What are my options as an SRI investor? Will I miss out on any types of investments?

We offer a wide range of investments and services for individuals, families, organizations, and institutions, including:

  • Stocks – access to major markets and exchanges
  • Bonds – tax free municipal, government, agency, corporate and convertible bonds
  • Mutual funds and exchange traded funds – including a wide range of SRI/ESG mutual funds
  • Portfolio management and third party money management services
  • Community-focused impact investment opportunities

Past performance is not indicative of future results. Diversification seeks to reduce the volatility of a portfolio by investing in a variety of asset classes.  Neither asset allocation nor diversification guarantee against market loss or greater or more consistent returns.