Over the years, we’ve received thousands of emails from fund shareholders asking a wide range of questions. We thought it would be interesting to share some of our responses to questions that touch on matters of broad interest.
Recently, a shareholder wrote: "What kind of pressure are you putting on pharmaceuticals to stop their attack on health care reform. As an investor I am VERY concerned about this and am considering divesting from all of them!"
In our response we wrote the following:
"We share your concerns about corporate lobbying activity on healthcare and many other critical issues, and we have worked to address these concerns through shareholder activism and through the standards we use to select holdings for our funds.
"We have been an active member of the Center for Political Accountability, an investor organization seeking to bring greater transparency to corporate political activity, and have successfully convinced a number of firms to publicly disclose their political contributions. For example, we were part of the investor group that convinced Merck to do so. Information disclosed by Merck is available online. We also vote our proxies in favor of proposals addressing health care reform filed by labor unions and religious organizations.
"When reviewing pharmaceutical companies for the Domini Funds, our analysts focus on three broad areas: access to medicine, the degree to which a company focuses on patent-protected medicines, and pricing controversies. We favor firms with a commitment to providing vaccines and preventative care, as opposed to those focused on ‘lifestyle’ drugs, such as Viagra. We have also excluded from our funds virtually all managed care organizations, such as Aetna and Cigna. We have also excluded virtually all for-profit hospitals, as well as many of the largest pharmaceutical companies, such as Pfizer.
"As I'm sure you're aware, the insurance industry has been active in this debate as well. Reliable information on corporate lobbying activities can be difficult to obtain, but we do keep an eye on the issue and have excluded companies from our portfolios due to concerns in this area. Our exclusion of United Health, for example, related to its lobbying activities on health care reform.
"We have not decided to divest from the pharmaceutical or insurance industries, although we do exclude individual companies that we believe fail to meet our social and environmental standards. These companies are regularly reviewed seeking to capture new information and emerging issues. Our Global Investment Standards are available at our website. To review the full portfolio for each of our funds, please visit the Domini Funds section of our website, select a fund, and select "Portfolio." Full fund portfolios are also disclosed in our Semi-Annual and Annual Reports to shareholders."
If you have questions or comments about the Domini Funds or our investment policies, please write us using our online email form.
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The Domini Funds are not insured and are subject to market risks. You may lose money. Certain fees and expenses apply to a continued investment and are described in the prospectus. The composition of each fund's portfolio is subject to change.
The social and environmental standards applied to the Domini Funds are subject to change without notice, as is Domini’s analysis of any of the companies named above. The information provided above should not be deemed an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy the stock of any of the companies noted, or a recommendation concerning the merits of any of these companies as an investment.
You should consider the Domini Funds' investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses carefully before investing. View or order a copy of the Funds' current prospectus for more complete information on these and other topics. Please read the prospectus carefully before investing or sending money.
DSIL Investment Services LLC, Distributor. 11/09