Last week, the London-based stock market index firm FTSE Group announced the results of the semi-annual review of its FTSE4Good series of socially responsible investment (SRI) indexes. An additional 82 companies (one of them is KPN) have met the FTSE’s corporate social responsibility criteria and will be added to several of the FTSE4Good indexes. Many of the companies newly joining the FTSE4Good universe are large American firms. FTSE also released performance statistics of the indexes since the last review.
The FTSE Group operates independently of its joint owners, the London Stock Exchange and Financial Times. Over a period of several months in 2001, FTSE introduced a benchmark index and a tradable index for each of four markets: UK, Europe, US and Global. On March 11 of this year, the FTSE4Good Advisory Committee, an independent board of international experts in SRI, conducted the second semi-annual review of the FTSE4Good indexes. Due to the staggered introduction of the indexes, this review represented the first comprehensive assessment of all eight indexes.
"The FTSE4Good series proves that it’s possible to create an investible financial tool, which also sets attainable CSR [corporate social responsibility] standards for companies worldwide," said FTSE Group Chief Executive Mark Makepeace.
The global indexes experienced the most profound changes, numerically. The FTSE4Good Global underwent a 7.5 percent turnover, with 62 companies being added and four being deleted. Five companies were added to the FTSE4Good Global 100 Index, and five were subtracted. This represented a 16.8 percent turnover rate, however, due to the smaller size of the index. US-based Pfizer (ticker: PFE), which now meets FTSE4Good SRI criteria, entered both global indexes, and now represents the third largest company in the FTSE4Good universe. The changes the committee implemented took effect at the beginning of this week.
The review considers market data through the last day of trading in the previous month–in this instance, February 28. Over the past three-month period, the Global Index decreased 4.11 percent, and the Global 100 dropped 4.14 percent. The Global Index was introduced in November, and hence did not return half-year results. The Global 100 lost 4.81 percent over the past half-year.
Percentage-wise, the US indexes experienced the most significant transformations. The FTSE4Good US Index, to which 11 companies were added and but two were dropped, turned over by 12.6 percent. The FTSE4Good US 100 Index turned over 28.6 percent, with 13 companies being added and 13 dropped. Citigroup (C) and Weyerhaeuser (WY) joined both the tradable and the benchmark indexes, with the former ranking second in terms of size. The advisory committee excluded Providian Financial Corp. from the universes of both indexes.
The US Index fell 4.57 percent over the previous three months. Its November introduction precluded it from consideration for half-year results. The US 100 Index declined 3.79 percent over the previous three months, and 3.10 percent over the previous half-year.
The UK indexes did not change nearly as dramatically as the Global and US indexes. Twenty-four companies were added to the FTSE4Good UK Index and 22 were subtracted, a 1.2 percent turnover. Only one company was added to the FTSE4Good UK 50 Index and one subtracted, representing a 1.3 percent turnover. The benchmark index added such companies as the Body Shop and Safeway.
Performance-wise, the UK Index dropped 2.75 percent over the previous three months and 4.75 percent over the previous half-year. The UK 50 decreased 2.72 percent over the previous three months and 4.90 percent over the previous half-year.
The European indexes experienced the least variation. The FTSE 4Good Europe Index turned over only 1.6 percent, with 25 companies being added and only one being deleted. The FTSE4Good Europe 50 Index did not shift at all. The Europe Index fell 0.26 percent over the previous three months and 3.66 percent over the previous half-year. The Europe 50 Index dropped 0.34 percent over the previous three months and 3.58 percent over the previous half-year.