At the outset, we designed a sophisticated screening method to keep responsible companies in the portfolio and keep the bad ones out (no military contracts, nuclear involvement or environmental degradation). But when market conditions argued for NorthStar to invest more broadly in large and mega-cap companies we needed to reevaluate the true impact that investors could have on social change merely by buying the best of the pack.
In 1993, NorthStar began to focus more attention on the shareholder proxy process in an effort to hold large companies accountable for their behavior. Initially we encouraged our clients to vote their proxies by publishing the NorthStar Proxy Voting Guide. This was the first booklet of its kind that helped clients cross-reference their stock holdings with pending social resolutions and vote according to their values. But then we began to vote proxies on behalf of our clients, leading to our work as shareholder activists.
Since 2000 we have sponsored resolutions on issues of predatory lending, executive compensation, equal rights, environmental practices, political spending and the human right to water. NorthStar is a leader in the shareholder activism field. We believe that when shareholders and the public are educated about an issue, they will be more likely to hold the company accountable for its actions and policies.
In 2013 we began offering an integrated capital focus to our clients, became a presence in Jamaica Plain, securing a building in the heart of the community, and began our financial literacy classes. 2015 marked our 25th year as wealth managers.
Our understanding of what SRI means and how it’s practiced has evolved dramatically over time. Our multi-faceted approach to creating real change digs deeply into the financial ecosystem to find ways we can act on behalf of our clients and ourselves to promote social change.
NorthStar’s decades-long commitment to socially responsible investing and our thoughtful strategy of shareholder activism puts the firm out in front of many of today’s hot-button investment issues.