Common Investment Funds (CIFs) are pooled investment funds set up specifically for charities. CIFs are constituted as charities in their own right. They offer investment opportunities in equities, cash, bonds, property and hedge fund asset classes. A selection of CIFs incorporate Responsible Investment criteria and your charity may wish to investigate how CIFs employ positive screens, negative screens and/or engagement approaches before investing.
As CIFs are pooled investment vehicles, the opportunities for a single charity investor to influence the Responsible Investment approach of a CIF may be limited. It is therefore important for trustees to seek information from the CIF manager about the Responsible Investment policies employed by the fund and to select a fund that fits with the responsible investment objectives of your charity. Our Pooled Funds Guide is a helpful resource to guide you through the ethical criteria of charity pooled funds on offer.
A CIF’s engagement policy, if it has one, is normally the same as the engagement policy of the fund manager across all the funds they manage. Seeking information on the engagement approach of a fund manager may help your trustees to ascertain which CIF’s engagement approach best fits with your charity’s mission and reflects its issues of concern.