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Barclays launches Canada’s “first socially responsible ETF”

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Barclays Global Investors Canada has launched Canada’s first socially responsible exchange-traded fund in partnership with Jantzi Research, a leading Canadian specialist in socially respon

Barclays Global Investors Canada has launched Canada’s first socially responsible exchange-traded fund in partnership with Jantzi Research, a leading Canadian specialist in socially responsible investment research.

The launch of the iShares CDN Jantzi Social Index Fund was accompanied by the introduction of Canada’s first small cap ETFs, the iShares CDN SmallCap Index Fund and iShares CDN Russell 2000 Index Fund, all of which began trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange on May 18.

The Jantzi Social Index Fund seeks to provide exposure to companies that have positive environmental, social and governance attributes. It will track the Jantzi Social Index, a socially screened, market capitalisation-weighted common stock index consisting of 60 Canadian companies that pass a set of broadly-based environmental, social and governance rating criteria.

‘The launch combines two of the strongest trends in investing today – the rise of ETFs and the growing desire of investors to align their investments with their values,’ says Heather Pelant, head of business development for exchange-traded products at Barclays Canada. ‘The arrival of the Jantzi Social Index Fund on the Canadian market fulfils a need that investors have had for quite some time.’

According to Pelant and Michael Jantzi, president and founder of Jantzi Research, the new ETF will provide exposure to the index at a much lower cost to investors.

‘More and more, Canadian investors want their investments to reflect their values on issues like the environment and corporate governance,’ Jantzi says. ‘Since the Jantzi Social Index was launched seven years ago, it has increased its value by almost 78 percent, a stronger performance than the S&P/TSX Composite and the S&P/TSX 60.’

In Canada, SRI assets are valued at more than CAD500bn, representing 20 per cent of the combined retail mutual fund and institutional investment market, having grown almost tenfold since 2005. ‘SRI funds are good not only for an investor’s conscience, but also their pocketbooks,’ Pelant says.

Alan Harman, director and senior investment executive at Scotia McLeod, adds: ‘Finally investment advisors can recommend a socially responsible ETF in Canada. The iShares CDN Jantzi Social Index Fund will allow investors to align their values with their long-term financial goals.’

Barclays Canada, which has offices in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, is part of Barclays Global Investors, a division of the Barclays group and one of the largest institutional investment managers in the world as well as the largest manager of index funds and ETFs, offering more than 200 iShares ETFs with USD375bn in assets.

At the end of March, Barclays Canada managed more than CAD71bn in Canadian and other assets for domestic clients, including more than CAD16bn in the Toronto Stock Exchange-listed iShares funds. Barclays Canada.

Jantzi Research evaluates and monitors the environmental, social and governance performance of global securities for clients including mutual funds, pension funds, money managers, investment advisors, foundations, religious orders, government, and others who integrate socially responsible criteria into their investment decision-making process.

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