Why is ESG Investing Important?

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Feb 13, 2020 3:54:59 PM

In our last two blogs on environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing we discussed the what and how of ESG investing.  In our final blog of the series we are going to explain why ESG investing is important for investors and for the future of the entire investment landscape. 

The adoption of ESG investment criteria in the investment community has hit a critical mass. Today, funds employing some form of sustainable investing strategy hold 25% of a company shares1 

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How Are ESG Funds Managed?

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Feb 6, 2020 3:01:07 PM

There are a variety of styles in which environmental, social and governance (ESG) funds are managed.   As with classic fund investing, the typical ESG fund manager will consider traditional investment metrics incorporating factors such as valuation, growth, earnings and balance sheet health.  In addition to these financial metrics, the manager will incorporate an array of ESG metrics into the investment process, analyzing factors that include:

Environmental: pollution, consumption and disclosure 

Social: tobacco, labor practices, gambling, pornography, weapons 

Governance: board independence, CEO compensation, auditing processes 

Faith-based: abortion, contraception, alcohol

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What is ESG?

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Jan 27, 2020 7:06:36 PM

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing is all the rage. When Dana Investments started our first ESG fund at the turn of the century, the total market size for ESG strategies was only $2 trillion. At the start of 2018, ESG strategies accounted for an astounding $12 trillion in investable assets! However, despite this robust demand, an air of ambiguity still hovers over the ESG marketplace. Investors are hearing about these funds and clearly want to know more. 

ESG, SRI (socially responsible investing), RI (responsible investing) and faith-based funds all fall under the umbrella of impact investments. The mandate for these funds is to consider the impact that corporate behavior has on shareholders, stakeholders and society. Impact investors not only want their returns, they want their returns to matter.

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Fully Invested? Here?

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Jan 24, 2020 1:47:36 PM


Index 2019 Return
CRSP US Total Market Index  30.84%
FTSE All-World Ex-US Index  21.81%
BloomBarc US 5-10 Year Credit Index 13.90%


The index returns above are a snapshot of the robust returns for financial assets in 2019.  These returns were buoyed in the second half of the year with the reversal of two investment headwinds: interest rates and trade. The Federal Reserve lowered the Fed Funds rate by 0.75% while the U.S. and China made progress in their tenuous trade dispute. The gains in the equity market averages were accompanied by lackluster 3.5%* earnings growth. As a result, market valuations appear stretched.  Entering 2020 the Case Shiller P/E ratio is 31.19, a level of valuation exceeded only in 1929 and 1999.

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What Should We Expect from Equity Markets During Presidential Election Years?

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Jan 16, 2020 9:59:26 AM

In case you somehow have not yet heard, 2020 is a presidential election year. In November, we Americans will go to the polls and collectively determine whether President Trump has earned another four years in office, or if we would be better served by the chosen Democrat candidate. While the race is sure to be hotly contested and the ad dollars good for network and social media bottom lines, what, if anything, does a presidential election portend for equity markets?

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Correlation between ESG & Company Culture

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Dec 18, 2019 4:43:55 PM

In his inaugural address on January 20, 1977, President Jimmy Carter extolled that the nation, “must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles.”  At times it seems we are living in a Moore’s Law-ian period of constant change.  In finance, this change has lowered costs for passive, index-based investors, shepherded the advent of quantitative analytics, and enabled investors to efficiently expand analytical horizons.

This expansion has helped usher Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing criteria into the investment mainstream. According to The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, $12 trillion, or one-fourth of all US-based professionally managed assets, use ESG criteria in their analysis.  While there are studies that show consideration of these factors have led to better returns, the increased adoption of ESG criteria should be celebrated because we believe it fosters better corporate behavior.

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A Decade in Review – How Mobile Has Changed Our World

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Dec 17, 2019 10:00:15 AM

The 2010s were full of change. In a 3-part blog series, we have taken time to review some of the most memorable changes from this past decade: The Effects of Climate Change, Central Banks Take the Wheel and below, How Mobile has Changed Our World.

Mobile Technology

In January 2010, the dawn of what would become a decade of unprecedented technological advancement, Steve Jobs stood on a stage in San Francisco and introduced the iPad.  Apple had just become the most valuable technology company on the planet and this new, touch-screen device would catapult the company to the first ever trillion-dollar valuation and forever change the computing world.

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A Decade in Review - The Effects of Climate Change

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Dec 11, 2019 12:50:07 PM

As part of a 3-part blog series covering the most memorable changes from the 2010s, our 2nd post covers the effects of climate change. If you are interested in reading the first part in this Decade in Review series, Central Banks Take the Wheel, please see link below.

Climate Change

In mid-November the city of Venice, Italy experienced its worst flood in over fifty years.  Fueled by rising ocean waters, drudged canals and 75 mile-per-hour winds, the brackish waters of Laguna Veneta rose six feet above normal levels, flooding over 80% of the city.  The flood waters caused an estimated $1.1 billion in damages.  Included in that estimate is considerable damage done to St. Mark’s Cathedral whose crypt flooded for the first time since 1966.

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A Decade in Review - Central Banks Take the Wheel

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Dec 5, 2019 9:27:00 AM

As we approach a new decade, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on some of the most memorable changes from the 2010s. In a 3-part blog series, we will cover central banks, how mobile has changed our world, and the effects of climate change.

Central Banks

Perhaps the biggest change in the financial markets over the past ten years is the evolution of the Federal Reserve from a somewhat autonomous, esoteric monetary policy making body to an almost ubiquitous actor in monetary, economic and political policy. In 2010 Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was an anonymous figure, known by few outside financial circles. Today, Chairman Jerome Powell is mentioned weekly in tweets by the President.

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ESG: For The Record

Posted by Dana Funds Investment Team on Nov 22, 2019 9:38:11 AM

On November 13th the Wall Street Journal published an article entitled “A Socially Responsible Strategy Can Be Tricky” that largely took to task Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing.  Though the author rightly identifies the subjective, and at times confusing, nature of ESG criteria standards (something Dana has previously discussed), the majority of the article is a somewhat cynical view of ESG investing as a worthwhile economic endeavor.

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The Dana Funds are distributed by Ultimus Fund Distributors, LLC. There is no affiliation between Ultimus Fund Distributors, LLC. and the firms referenced in this blog post.