Each client works with a single portfolio manager, but our full team of managers consults on each account. Portfolio managers Eric Becker and Elizabeth Glenshaw are based in our main office in Norwich, Vt. Rian Fried and Doug Fleer work from our office in Greensboro, Vermont, and Dorigen Hofmann works from Washington, D.C.
We tailor your portfolio to your tax situation as well as to particular circumstances, such as your current stock and bond holdings, your cash requirements, and your retirement and estate plans. At your request, we can work directly with other professionals, such as your financial planner or accountant.
Our usual minimum account size is $1,000,000. This may be met by adding separate portfolios within a single family.
We evaluate potential investments from environmental, social, and governance points of view and eliminate from client portfolios companies that are materially engaged in nuclear power, oil & coal production, genetically modified seed production, gambling, tobacco, weapons manufacture, hydraulic fracturing, human rights abuse, and other activities that are socially harmful. In this vein, we avoid U.S. Treasury securities because of the weapons expenditures that they fund. We seek out companies with positive environmental and social records, such as those with forward-looking domestic-partner policies, notable support for their communities, exemplary energy conservation practices, or strong records of advancing women to top positions. (See Our Screens for a more complete description.)
We can explore with you the choice of placing a small percentage of your portfolio in community investments. Many of these investments, by design, offer below-market financial returns to achieve high social impact. Examples might be loans for affordable housing or minority-owned businesses in your area, or for wind turbines in a third-world country.
We can discuss with you opportunities to invest in high-social-impact businesses that are not traded on the regular stock exchanges. These often carry relatively high financial risk. An example: a small Vermont company that produces organic garden seeds.
We engage with companies on social issues, typically using a client’s shareholder status to open a dialogue. For instance, we might identify a company with an all-white-male board. Then, teaming up with a client who holds that company’s shares, we will urge the company to adopt a nomination policy ensuring that women and minorities get fair consideration. Absent progress through dialogue, we will file a shareholder proxy resolution and present the resolution at the corporation’s annual meeting. Shareholder activism can be quite effective; for example, several companies that once had all-white-male boards have added women and minorities after shareholder challenges on behalf of Clean Yield clients.