Stock Market Screen_000005720299XSmallAbout two thirds of socially responsible mutual funds in the U.S. outperformed industry benchmarks during the 2009 economic downturn, according to data compiled by the Social Investment Forum (SIF), a trade association for the funds.

SIF said data on 160 socially responsible mutual funds found that 65 percent of them outperformed their benchmarks last year across nearly all asset classes, including balanced, large cap, small cap and global funds, as well as bonds.  SIF said the performance data it analyzed was provided by an independent third party, Thomson Reuters.

According to the SIF, particular standouts on socially responsible mutual fund performance were 73 large cap funds where nearly three out of four (72.6 percent) outperformed the S&P 500.  On average, large cap funds bested the S&P 500 by more than 6 percentage points.  A majority of the large cap funds offered by SIF members also outperformed the S&P 500 over three years and over 10 years, the association said.

Lisa Woll, CEO of Social Investment Forum, said: “In the wake of the financial crisis more and more consumers are concerned about runaway executive pay practices and other forms of corporate misconduct and sustainability risks.  The SIF’s Mutual Fund Performance Chart allows retail investors to explore which SRI funds incorporate these and other sustainability issues into their investing and proxy voting practices.”

The 22 fund families represented in the SIF analysis are: Access Capital Strategies; AHA; Appleseed; Ariel; Azzad; Calvert; Community Capital Management; Domini; Gabelli; Green Century; Integrity; Legg Mason; Meeder Asset Management; MMA Praxis; Neuberger Berman; New Alternatives; Parnassus; Pax World; Portfolio 21; Sentinel; Walden; and Winslow.