Trending: 3 Top Performing ESG Funds

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Trending: 3 Top Performing ESG Funds

ESG concept image 2
MutualFunds.com analyzes the search patterns of our visitors every two weeks to find the top trending funds. By sharing these trends with our readers, we hope to provide insights into what the financial world is concerned about and how to position your portfolio.
First, we select the top trending category from more than 200 categories listed on MutualFunds.com based on the percentage increase in monthly viewership. From the top trending category, we select the top three funds with the highest 1-year trailing total returns. To ensure quality and staying power of funds, we only look at those mutual funds with a minimum $250 million in assets and a track record of at least three years. We also remove those mutual funds that are closed to new investors and are not available for investment outside registered accounts such as retirement or 529 accounts.

The stock market is a dynamic environment that’s in constant motion. Sometimes within a single trading day investor sentiment can change from bullish optimism to bearish pessimism. But there are larger patterns that can be seen in the markets if one knows where to look. That brings us to the top trending category of this edition – socially responsible and ESG.

According to Vanguard, the sustainable investment category is growing fast with over 350 ESG funds and ETFs available to investors in the U.S. representing more than $89 billion in assets under management. Contrary to what many believe, sustainable investing doesn’t mean sacrificing returns – studies have shown that ESG companies are competitive with non-ESG companies, with many actually outperforming in the long run.

Want to know more about portfolio rebalancing? Click here.

Trending Funds

ESG stands for “environmental, social, and governance” and seeks to include these aspects into an investment portfolio. These types of funds select stocks based on their corporate and investor governance and dedication to environmental initiatives.

The top three funds in this category are broken down further below.

1. Vanguard FTSE Social Index I (VFTNX)

Vanguard’s flagship ESG fund, VFTNX, is a U.S. large-cap equity blend with a 1-year annualized total return of 21.9%. In addition, the fund generated a 3-year annualized total return of 14.3%. The low 0.12% expense ratio is the lowest in its category as well. Unlike the other funds on our list, the Vanguard fund is an index fund that tracks the FTSE4Good US Select Index, which primarily screens out funds with inadequate ESG characteristics. Using a passive management style, it tends to have less volatility than actively managed funds.

Gerard C. O’Reilly, Principal of Vanguard Group, and William Coleman, Portfolio Manager, have been managing the fund since December 2015. The relatively short manager tenure is somewhat mitigated by the fact that the index fund doesn’t require an active management team.

The fund’s top holdings include Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), Facebook (FB), JPMorgan & Chase (JPM) and Alphabet Inc (GOOG).

Learn more about different Portfolio Management concepts here.

VFTNX 1Y Price Chart

2. TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Instl (TNWCX)

TNWCX, offered through TIAA Investments, provided a solid 1-year annualized total return of 18.1% and a 3-year annualized total return of 9.8%. The low 0.32% expense ratio gives investors the lion’s share of the gains as well. The fund tries to reflect the performance of the Russell 3000 Index while considering specific considerations for ESG criteria, including carbon emission levels and fossil fuel reserves.

The fund’s managers Philip Campagna, a quantitative portfolio manager responsible for managing all equity index strategies at TIAA-CREF, and Lei Liao, CFA has been managing the fund since August 2015.

The top holdings for the fund include Microsoft (MSFT), Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Alphabet Inc (GOOG), and Proctor & Gamble (PG).

TNWCX 1Y Price Chart

3. Pioneer Balanced ESG Y (AYBLX)

Pioneer’s socially responsible and ESG fund, AYBLX, has a 1-year annualized total return of 10.4% and a 3-year annualized total return of 7.7%. The fund comes with an expense ratio of 0.66%. Under normal conditions, the fund allocates 35% of its assets to equity and 65% of its assets to debt securities. While selecting equities, the fund uses a value style and applies ESG factors. For the debt component, the fund considers broad economic factors, issuer-specific factors, and other ESG-specific criteria. The fund uses ESG ratings provided by third parties and internal teams to evaluate ESG aspects of a specific security.

The fund’s manager Walter Hunnewell, currently the Vice President of Amundi Pioneer, has over 14 years of experience having joined as a portfolio manager for the fund in 2005. He is supported by 2 other managers – Bradley Komenda, CFA, Senior Vice President, and Lawrence Zeno, Vice President at Amundi Pioneer. Both of them support Mr. Hunnewell on managing the fixed-income components of the fund.

The top holdings of the fund include Microsoft (MSFT), Alphabet Inc (GOOGL), Amazon (AMZN), Verizon Communications (VZ) and JPMorgan & Chase (JPM).

Find out the funds suitable for your portfolio by using our free Screener.

AYBLX 1Y Price Chart

The Bottom Line

Keeping up to date with the latest trends in investor activity means that you’ll never be caught unaware of an underperforming fund or miss out on profitable new opportunities. Sustainable investing is one of the hottest new trends on Wall Street with ESG funds giving investors access to pre-selected companies that fit the sustainable profile. If you are interested in ESG investing, our breakdown of the top three funds will give you an insight into building a sustainable portfolio to meet your investment objectives.

And don’t forget to visit our news section to catch up with the latest news about mutual fund performance.

Note: Data as of January 31, 2020


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ESG concept image 2

Trending: 3 Top Performing ESG Funds

MutualFunds.com analyzes the search patterns of our visitors every two weeks to find the top trending funds. By sharing these trends with our readers, we hope to provide insights into what the financial world is concerned about and how to position your portfolio.
First, we select the top trending category from more than 200 categories listed on MutualFunds.com based on the percentage increase in monthly viewership. From the top trending category, we select the top three funds with the highest 1-year trailing total returns. To ensure quality and staying power of funds, we only look at those mutual funds with a minimum $250 million in assets and a track record of at least three years. We also remove those mutual funds that are closed to new investors and are not available for investment outside registered accounts such as retirement or 529 accounts.

The stock market is a dynamic environment that’s in constant motion. Sometimes within a single trading day investor sentiment can change from bullish optimism to bearish pessimism. But there are larger patterns that can be seen in the markets if one knows where to look. That brings us to the top trending category of this edition – socially responsible and ESG.

According to Vanguard, the sustainable investment category is growing fast with over 350 ESG funds and ETFs available to investors in the U.S. representing more than $89 billion in assets under management. Contrary to what many believe, sustainable investing doesn’t mean sacrificing returns – studies have shown that ESG companies are competitive with non-ESG companies, with many actually outperforming in the long run.

Want to know more about portfolio rebalancing? Click here.

Trending Funds

ESG stands for “environmental, social, and governance” and seeks to include these aspects into an investment portfolio. These types of funds select stocks based on their corporate and investor governance and dedication to environmental initiatives.

The top three funds in this category are broken down further below.

1. Vanguard FTSE Social Index I (VFTNX)

Vanguard’s flagship ESG fund, VFTNX, is a U.S. large-cap equity blend with a 1-year annualized total return of 21.9%. In addition, the fund generated a 3-year annualized total return of 14.3%. The low 0.12% expense ratio is the lowest in its category as well. Unlike the other funds on our list, the Vanguard fund is an index fund that tracks the FTSE4Good US Select Index, which primarily screens out funds with inadequate ESG characteristics. Using a passive management style, it tends to have less volatility than actively managed funds.

Gerard C. O’Reilly, Principal of Vanguard Group, and William Coleman, Portfolio Manager, have been managing the fund since December 2015. The relatively short manager tenure is somewhat mitigated by the fact that the index fund doesn’t require an active management team.

The fund’s top holdings include Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), Facebook (FB), JPMorgan & Chase (JPM) and Alphabet Inc (GOOG).

Learn more about different Portfolio Management concepts here.

VFTNX 1Y Price Chart

2. TIAA-CREF Social Choice Low Carbon Equity Instl (TNWCX)

TNWCX, offered through TIAA Investments, provided a solid 1-year annualized total return of 18.1% and a 3-year annualized total return of 9.8%. The low 0.32% expense ratio gives investors the lion’s share of the gains as well. The fund tries to reflect the performance of the Russell 3000 Index while considering specific considerations for ESG criteria, including carbon emission levels and fossil fuel reserves.

The fund’s managers Philip Campagna, a quantitative portfolio manager responsible for managing all equity index strategies at TIAA-CREF, and Lei Liao, CFA has been managing the fund since August 2015.

The top holdings for the fund include Microsoft (MSFT), Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Alphabet Inc (GOOG), and Proctor & Gamble (PG).

TNWCX 1Y Price Chart

3. Pioneer Balanced ESG Y (AYBLX)

Pioneer’s socially responsible and ESG fund, AYBLX, has a 1-year annualized total return of 10.4% and a 3-year annualized total return of 7.7%. The fund comes with an expense ratio of 0.66%. Under normal conditions, the fund allocates 35% of its assets to equity and 65% of its assets to debt securities. While selecting equities, the fund uses a value style and applies ESG factors. For the debt component, the fund considers broad economic factors, issuer-specific factors, and other ESG-specific criteria. The fund uses ESG ratings provided by third parties and internal teams to evaluate ESG aspects of a specific security.

The fund’s manager Walter Hunnewell, currently the Vice President of Amundi Pioneer, has over 14 years of experience having joined as a portfolio manager for the fund in 2005. He is supported by 2 other managers – Bradley Komenda, CFA, Senior Vice President, and Lawrence Zeno, Vice President at Amundi Pioneer. Both of them support Mr. Hunnewell on managing the fixed-income components of the fund.

The top holdings of the fund include Microsoft (MSFT), Alphabet Inc (GOOGL), Amazon (AMZN), Verizon Communications (VZ) and JPMorgan & Chase (JPM).

Find out the funds suitable for your portfolio by using our free Screener.

AYBLX 1Y Price Chart

The Bottom Line

Keeping up to date with the latest trends in investor activity means that you’ll never be caught unaware of an underperforming fund or miss out on profitable new opportunities. Sustainable investing is one of the hottest new trends on Wall Street with ESG funds giving investors access to pre-selected companies that fit the sustainable profile. If you are interested in ESG investing, our breakdown of the top three funds will give you an insight into building a sustainable portfolio to meet your investment objectives.

And don’t forget to visit our news section to catch up with the latest news about mutual fund performance.

Note: Data as of January 31, 2020


Sign up for Advisor Access

Receive email updates about best performers, news, CE accredited webcasts and more.

Popular Articles

Download our free report

Find out why $30 trillon is invested in mutual funds.

Why 30 trillion is invested in mutual funds book

Why 30 trillion is invested in mutual funds book

Download our free report

Find out why $30 trillon is invested in mutual funds.

Why 30 trillion is invested in mutual funds book

Download our free report

Find out why $30 trillon is invested in mutual funds.


Read Next