You don't have to spend much time observing the sustainable and socially responsible investing world to realize that green comes in unlimited shades and sizes. There are small investors with huge appetites for responsible investments and large ones with more limited interest. Some advisors have built their practices around green, while others only stumble upon it occasionally.

No matter how green you or your clients may be, accounting for their preferences and needs on an account by account basis, and keeping up with any changes, can be mind boggling and very time consuming. Rather than go it alone, a growing number of SRI and mainstream advisors are turning to a platform offered by Folio Institutional.

With Folio, advisors can set up the same model portfolios for their SRI and regular clients. Client-selected exclusions coded at the account level automatically keep individuals away from any investments they wish to avoid and allocate their assets to other securities. Exclusions are based mostly on Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes, but also other sources such as the nonprofit Genocide Intervention Network.

"We sit under a whole bunch of SRI platforms. We're the Intel inside," says Greg Vigrass, president of Folio Institutional, a division of online brokerage Foliofn Investments Inc.

SRI has been part of the Folio platform since its inception nearly a decade ago, but its capability has evolved considerably, says Vigrass. Over the last couple years of market uncertainty and volatility, a growing number of investors have turned on SRI exclusions and other exclusions. Military weapons and firearms has been the most commonly used screen, followed by nuclear power, investments requiring a Schedule K-1 filing, alcohol, tobacco, gambling and genocide. K-1 tax requirements can be difficult and expensive to tackle.

Folio learned a lot about SRI from the First Affirmative Financial Network (FAFN), an independent registered investment advisor that specializes in serving socially responsible investors, says Vigrass. FAFN, which supports a nationwide network of investment professionals, has been using the Folio platform for about eight years.

"We were one of the early swimmers to jump in that pool. We kind of brought Folio up the SRI learning curve," says FAFN president Steve Schueth. FAFN, which does its own SRI screening and also relies on screens from such SRI investment managers as Trillium Asset Management and Boston Common Asset Management, uses Folio as an administrative platform. FAFN can expose clients to a mix of managers and styles through model folios for a significantly lower minimum investment than if a client set up a traditional account with just one of those managers.

"The platform offers us a unified managed account platform typically not available in the SRI world," says Schueth. The paperless system is also easy to use. "Advisors can move money back and forth with a few mouse clicks."

SRI-focused investment advisory firm Azzad Asset Management, headquartered in the Washington D.C. suburbs, began using the Folio platform at the end of 2003 for its individual managed accounts. Azzad controls a model folio and whatever it specifies automatically impacts all subaccounts linked to that folio. Azzad president and CEO Bashar Qasem finds Folio's platform very cost effective, simple and efficient. "Nobody has this; they've pioneered this."

Whether an account has $10,000 or $1 million, Folio makes it possible for Azzad to give it the same treatment, says Qasem. Without the platform, it would be economically unfeasible to direct the same attention to smaller accounts. "Folio saves a lot of man hours," he says. He also finds it very desirable from a compliance point of view. In addition to social screens, Azzad has clients who use Folio's K-1 screens.

Sopher Investment Management, a Burlington, Vt.-based independent wealth manager, has been a Folio client for about a year. More than half of Sopher's clients are interested in SRI. Some are actively seeking out SRI companies; more are looking to exclude companies. "Each client has their own thoughts on what socially responsible is. Meeting them can be challenging without a tool like Folio that can help manage different expectations," says Sopher portfolio manager Matthew Johnson, CFA.

Johnson likes that Folio enables his firm to efficiently execute its strategy and manage accounts at one level but still meet individual preferences. It's also cost effective for clients. Rather than paying per trade, they pay a flat fee for unlimited trading. Clients can also purchase fractional shares, making it much easier to offer smaller accounts diversification. Sopher has mainly relied on Folio's screens, which Johnson says are very helpful. Sopher is also developing its own screens.