I'd like to be a socially responsible investor. I'd like to be able to blacklist certain companies that I feel are violators of my own social beliefs. cough monsanto cough.

I'm finding it to be difficult to see what holdings different mutual funds have. I'd assume that this information is proprietary in the same way that you wouldn't give the recipe of your profitable cake to your rival baker.

I know there are sites that will show you the top 5 (or 10) holdings, but they never give you a full list of all of the holdings.

Is there any way to see all of the holdings a mutual fund has?

Are those top 5 (or 10) holdings predicted and generated using complex mathematical models?

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    What country? Most countries would have a law to Mutual Funds to publish the list of stocks periodically. Again it may not meet your purpose if you strictly want to follow and never invest in something. – Dheer Oct 31 '13 at 11:04
  • @Dheer, I apologize for being a typical American, totally oblivious that I live on a globe with 200+ other countries on it. I'm referring to US mutual funds. – Patrick James McDougle Nov 4 '13 at 8:09
  • Holdings are disclosed periodically in SEC mandated reports as well as the annual and semi-annual reports. investopedia.com/ask/answers/091715/… – Ben Creasy Mar 30 '20 at 8:29

Within reason, I find that it's usually possible to find out the full holdings a mutual fund has. What I mean by this is that you can't go and find out a perfectly up-to-date measurement, on demand, all the time.

However, you can go and pull a fund's prospectus and it will disclose (a) its investment strategy, and (b) its holdings. For example, I own some holdings in SHRAX, which is a mutual fund. You can find its holdings as of Sept. 30, 2013 on the company's website here.

You can find something similar--just a different format--for VNQ, a Vanguard Real Estate ETF/Mutual Fund here. (I don't own this one... yet.)

I get what you're saying about the 'secret' sauce vs. full disclosure concept. But I'm pretty sure that only listing the top 5 or 10 holdings has more to do simplifying information. By the math, movements in the largest holdings will have the biggest impact on the change in value of a single share of the fund overall.

It may even be a legal requirement (at least in the US) to make disclosures about the full holdings available every quarter. Maybe someone else can speak to that.

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    Upon further digging, I noticed you are correct. The company (TIAA-CREF) does publish the holdings on a quarterly basis. The complication is the one I hold (TLFRX) is a lifecycle fund that itself invests into other mutual funds. (Yo dawg, I heard you like mutual funds, so we put mutual funds in your mutual fund so you can invest while you invest). I probably have a lot more research to do, but for now, I'm going to leave everything where it is and keep my ethics out of the equation until I know a lot more. – Patrick James McDougle Nov 4 '13 at 8:43
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    hahaha, mutual fund investing through mutual funds. Awesome. Sounds like investing meets "Inception". But seriously... I have done a fair amount of research into TIAA-CREF and they are a solid group. I don't think it is bad to want to be a principaled investor, but you're probably wise to save that until your investments are made through a different//more specific avenue. – THEAO Nov 4 '13 at 8:55
  • I just learned that the main Vanguard pages don't show as much as their "advisor" pages like advisors.vanguard.com/investments/products/vtiax/…, which even lets you export CSV files about their holdings. – Ryan Aug 28 '20 at 21:06

One thing to keep in mind is that what a fund holds today, might not be what it holds in the future. If one of your blacklisted companies is now held would you redeem the fund? This could be expensive.

While there are socially conscious funds, another option would be for you to invest directly with companies that you feel comfortable. DRIPS are a great way to do this as most are low cost.

  • This is good advice, but since it doesn't answer the question, it is more suited to be a comment than an answer. – Patrick James McDougle Nov 4 '13 at 8:44
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    Actually, it's a valid counterpoint to my eye. – George Marian Nov 4 '13 at 18:27

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