Kleinwort seeks fresh investment goals

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The Independent Online
Kleinwort Benson is seeking to counter the City's reputation for basing investment decisions purely on financial criteria. It is launching a fund that will buy stock in companies that pay attention to a wide range of stakeholders and other aspects of the "inclusive approach" put forward by the Royal Society for the encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce inquiry "Tomorrow's Company".

The Kleinwort Benson Tomorrow's Company Exempt Trust, launched yesterday by the firm's investment management arm, is seeking to give investors "superior, sustainable, long-term returns" at a time when inflation and gross domestic product are expected to show only minimal growth.

The announcement of the fund follows research by Kleinwort Benson Investment Management showing that a model portfolio of companies fitting the RSA team's criteria would have significantly outperformed the FTSE All-Share index between December 1992 and June 1996.

Brennan Hiorns, chief investment officer at Kleinwort Benson Investment Management, said that the investment process behind this model complemented the firm's research-based approach to fund management.

Paul Sheehan, who will manage the new fund's investments, said: "This product is innovative because it broadens the scope of the investment process."

Among behaviourial aspects the firm will look at are communciating the company's values; identifying key sources of sustainable success; and placing a value of key relationships with groups such as customers, suppliers, the community and, above all, employees.