IA Clarington Investments Inc. has completed the purchase of assets relating to the socially responsible investing (SRI) mutual fund business of Inhance Investment Management Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Vancouver City Savings Credit Union, as well as the merger of the Inhance managed funds with funds managed by IA Clarington, the company said Monday.

The transaction represents the beginning of a long-term strategic relationship for the distribution of IA Clarington mutual funds through Vancity branches.

IA Clarington is a wholly owned subsidiary of Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc. (TSX:IA)

On Monday, Industrial Alliance also launched a socially responsible segregated fund, SRI Balanced (Inhance) Fund. within its Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal Benefit GMWB product, Ecoflextra. This fund offers the additional benefits of capital protection and a guaranteed income stream.

“We see socially responsible investing as a natural response to the increased global focus on environmental respect and supporting the communities in which we live and work,” says David Scandiffio, President of IA Clarington. “We feel it is important to broaden our current fund line-up, and do so in a way that provides investors with investments that they can feel good about.”

The Inhance fund family, Vancity Circadian fund family and Vancity Perspectives portfolio solutions family have been merged with funds managed by IA Clarington and represent approximately $92 million in assets under management (AUM), bringing IA Clarington’s total AUM to well over $7 billion. Most of the Inhance funds have merged into new IA Clarington SRI funds, which will be offered nationally through IA Clarington’s distribution network, as well as through Vancity branches.

Veteran fund managers Stephen MacInnes, Dermot Foley and other key members of the existing in-house Inhance investment team will remain with the Vancity group and continue to advise the new IA Clarington SRI funds. The team was recently recognized at the 2009 Canadian Investment Awards, winning the Socially Responsible Investment Fund Award.

“We were very pleased to be able to maintain the Inhance portfolio management team,” says Scandiffio. “They are recognized leaders in this category and bring a vast amount of experience to the table.”

“Establishing this relationship with Industrial Alliance and IA Clarington means our members can continue to access high quality SRI funds at their local Vancity branch,” adds Tamara Vrooman, president and CEO of Vancity. “It enables us to retain our SRI expertise and focus on what we do best, while bringing socially responsible investments to a much wider marketplace.”

The fund mergers were approved by unitholders of the Inhance fund family, Vancity Circadian fund family and Vancity Perspectives portfolio solutions family on December 2.