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It is also the description of a hot investing sector featuring diverse choices. These choices range from green bonds aimed at funding environmentally friendly community development projects as well as green mutual funds primarily composed of companies focused on environmental and sustainable business. Increasingly though, it involves investing in mutual funds that act as shareholder activists in order to influence companies to implement better environmental, social, or corporate governance policies.

It is how Len Cohen, principal and Certified Financial PlannerTM Practioner with CF Services Group based in Gaithersburg, Md., invests his money.  It is the type of investment he often advises his clients to select.

“Many of my clients share my interest in socially responsible impact investing,” Cohen said. “That is the specialty I am developing within my practice with clients that share my interest in environmental action. I am very interested in environmental sustainability and other desirable social outcomes. I think it’s worthwhile to line up my investments with those types of goals.  My clients and I feel good about choosing investments in firms that are trying to influence climate change.  That is a priority value for many of my clients.”

Cohen doesn’t just talk environmental awareness. He participates in it.

In late January, Cohen, his firm associate, and a few clients jumped into the frigid Potomac River for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network Polar Bear Plunge. The theme of the fundraising event was, “Keep Winter Cold.”

“I think we raised enough money for a good psychiatric evaluation,” Cohen joked.

More than that, Cohen and his fellow jumpers put their social activity where their portfolios are.

Many of Cohen’s clients have ten to 15 years or less until their retirement or are already retired, he said.  Most do not consider themselves to be high net worth; they have assets of less than $5 million. They are smart, well educated people who have earned their paychecks based on “what they know and applying what they know,” Cohen said. They are knowledgeable enough to recognize their need for sound investment advice for their retirement years.

He knows his clients need long-term investments capable of producing sustainable returns that will support their lifestyles in retirement. He believes green investments will do such. By their very nature as the technologies develop, green investments are long-term endeavors. The returns, Cohen believes, will continue to match or exceed values-neutral investing as the market share for green energy increases and the cost of producing it decreases.

“As a financial planner, my first objective is to make sure my clients meet their financial goals. We develop a strategy to accomplish those financial goals,” Cohen said. “For us, it is not about beating the markets. It is about achieving goals with confidence.  If I meet my clients’ social and sustainable goals, but haven’t met their financial goals, I’ve still failed.  It’s about doing well and doing good.”

Learn more about CF Services Group online at
*Registered Representative, Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC.  Investment Advisor Representative, Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor.  Cambridge and CF Services Group, Inc. are not affiliated.
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