Personal finance: Conscientious objectives

Investing your money is often presented as a search for the best performance from a PEP, an endowment policy or a pension fund. Yet, for increasing numbers of savers, exactly how their money is used has become key to their investment strategy. Nic Cicutti profiles a new guide on the subject.

Increasingly, the exploitation of our fellow human beings, damage caused to the environment or experiments carried out on harmless animals, are not seen as separate from our overall financial priorities but as integral part of them.

More and more savers have opted for their money to be invested ethically - that is, on the basis of positive and negative criteria applied to companies whose shares may be bought.

But choosing which fund to invest in is not that simple. The 30-plus funds now claiming to invest ethically will have different approaches to many issues. Then there is the fundamental issue of performance: will you lose out by investing ethically?

That is why The Independent is publishing a free 28-page Guide to Ethical Finances, which looks at investments, banking, credit cards, loans and insurance.

The guide is sponsored by Friends Provident, one of the leading ethical investment companies. But it also looks at all other large players, comparing them against each other.

'The Independent Guide to Ethical Finances', sponsored by Friends Provident, is written by Nic Cicutti, personal finance editor of this newspaper. It is available free by calling 0800 214487. Or fill in the coupon on this page.