THE latest entrant jostling for attention among more than 4,000 mutual funds is designed to appeal to union-minded investors. Like a socially responsible fund with a single focus, the Union Standard Trust only invests in ``union friendly'' companies - those that meet a certain number of labor-sensitive criteria.
Established by the Massachusetts Financial Service Company in January, the fund is the first of its kind to specify labor policies as a criteria for investment. Companies must be largely unionized, must not have a record of strikes and lockouts, and must not manufacture products on a union boycott list, among other things.
The guidelines are drawn up in the ``Labor Sensitivity Index,'' which was especially created by American Capital Strategies Ltd. to assist the fund in screening potential companies.
This is not a fund for the individual investor, however. Minimum initial investment is $5 million. The fund managers are seeking to sell to such institutional investors as pension plans sponsored by labor unions or simply those with a lot of union members.