Socially Responsible Investment on the Move: Pax World Creates New Fund

by John Howell
Apr 9, 2014 2:00 PM ET

Interview with Joe Keefe, CEO, Pax World

Pax World launched the first socially responsible mutual fund in the U.S. in 1971. Since then, both the investment management company and the entire field of SRI have seen many changes. Recently, Pax announced a new fund, the Pax MSCI International ESG Index Fund (PXINX). I took the occasion to talk with Pax CEO Joe Keefe about this new investment product, the sustainable investing sector, and the big picture of mainstream investment moving into the sustainability area—John Howell, Editorial Director

John Howell: Pax World has created a new fund. Why? What advantages does it give to you and to your clients?

Joe Keefe: All Pax World Funds follow a sustainable investing approach – fully integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into investment analysis and portfolio construction.  In creating the Pax MSCI International ESG Index Fund (PXINX), we actually merged two international funds, one of which was an exchange-traded fund (ETF) and the other an open-end mutual fund, into a new fund.  We did this in order to lower shareholder costs, realize economies of scale and hopefully provide an attractive option for sustainable or ESG-oriented investors who want exposure to international developed markets in their portfolios. The Fund is the only mutual fund in the United States that invests in the MSCI EAFE ESG Index.  Among the advantages of a passively managed or index-based approach is that, rather than having to choose among and pay the generally higher costs associated with actively-managed funds, an investor can get broad, diversified international exposure in a single fund, with an expense ratio of 0.55% for institutional class shares and 0.80% for individual class shares.    

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John Howell is a co-founder and the Editorial Director for 3BL Media. He oversees all original content procurement and creation. He is also the principal of Greenland Inc., which advises on media strategy and communications, new media, and branding and marketing for new campaigns, products, and multi-platform media initiatives. As a publisher-editor-writer, John has worked extensively with a variety of popular magazines and is a frequent contributing writer and blogger. He is an avid reader and music lover and is currently helping to guide the Delta Blues Museum through a re-branding initiative. John lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.