From the December 2009 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

Putting SRI Into Practice: Jennifer Lazarus

Sidebar to the Cover Story "Good Corp., Bad Corp."

"I call myself the financial planner to the socially responsible investor," explains this solo practitioner. After two years with another firm she launched her own practice, Lazarus Financial Planning, in 2005 and was asked by one of her first clients for advice on socially responsible investments.

It was a subject in which she already had an interest, and as she began her research she liked what she found. From then on she asked clients if they had an interest in exploring SRI and if they did she would approach it as just another investment strategy.

But after coming back from last year's SRI in the Rockies conference, she came to the realization she could only work with a limited number of clients and she wanted them all to be SRI clients. "On the front end it's now a kind of screen that I use when I talk with prospective clients," she says.

But that's only going forward. Lazarus wasn't about to fire any clients she already had only because they didn't share her passion for SRI. "What I decided was that the relationships that I already have in place are more important to me than which side of the line they stand on."

The issues that drive most of her SRI clients are sustainability, social justice, poverty, and local communities, but these are investments, she emphasizes, not charitable donations.

"They are making financial investments for financial returns, but they and I recognize that you can meet your long-term financial goals while also addressing some of your social and environmental goals. It doesn't have to be an either/or thing."

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