Brian Moriarty: Since its recent inception, TIAA-CREF Social Choice Bond Fund (TSBIX) has posted knockout returns. It shows that following a responsible investing strategy does not have to mean diminished returns.
In 2014, the fund ranked in the top 1% of all intermediate-term bond funds, which is a very competitive category. It followed that up with an equally strong 2015, scoring in the top 9% of the category, and is already off to a great start in 2016.
The fund follows an "ESG"--or environmental, social, and governance--strategy, which ranks companies, governments, and agencies on a variety of responsible criteria. The fund also allocates a sleeve for what the manager calls "proactive social investments," which allows him to invest in bonds that fund specific projects and have a measurable, quantifiable impact on environmental and social conditions.
Its expense ratio is low compared with other mutual funds but is still higher than a standard ETF. Although it doesn't currently have a Morningstar Analyst Rating, the fund is on our radar.