European SRI fund sales take a beating, losing €1bn in a month

Green and norms-based funds stay positive despite market turmoil.

European retail SRI fund sales took a beating in March this year with the sector losing more than €1bn in assets (€1.06bn), according to the latest available figures compiled for Responsible Investor by Lipper FMI, the investment data group. The slide mirrored a bad month in general for equity funds. Total equity fund sales in Europe for mainstream funds were down €9m for the month, a rare month in the red. ‘RI screened’ funds, as they are labelled by Lipper FMI, have undergone an ‘extra-financial’ ESG (environment, social and governance) screen in their stock selection process. SRI funds have been on a rollercoaster ride in terms of sale sin recent months. In February they recorded inflows of €751.7m for the month after losses of €742m in January, and inflows of €623.8m in December, 2010. In March, only two funds made it into double figures for sales. French manager Macif’s short-term SRI money market fund (MACIF Court Terme ISR) was the biggest seller taking in €197.2m. Second was Swiss fund manager SAM’s Smart Energy equity fund with receipts of €103.4m. Third was State Street Global Advisor’s SSGA World SRI Index Equity Fund with inflows of €63.7m.The biggest RI Screened fund is Amundi’s Tréso ISR fund with €7.3bn. Second is Natixis’ Fonsicav with €5.7bn. Green themed and norms-based European RI retail funds, however, continued to sell strongly during March with total sector sales of €742.3m That followed a positive February with total sector receipts of €764.7m. The fund class, labelled by Lipper FMI as ‘RI Extended’, includes those with multiple ethical exclusions, those following a norms-based strategy, and themed climate change and microfinance funds. However, the figures were dominated by inflows into one corporate bond fund run by Storebrand, the Norwegian financial services group. Its Global Kreditt IG fund took in assets of €635.7m. The second highest netting fund was a Storebrand currency fund, Global Stat, which took in €122.9m. Third was Storebrand’s Norwegian bond fund, Stat A with €102.1m. Next was Vanguard’s SRI Global Stock fund with €93.8m. The best selling pure play clean tech fund was Pictet’s Clean Energy fund with sales of €57.3m. The biggest RI Extended fund remains Pictet’s Water fund with €2.4bn in assets. Second is Blackrock’s New Energy Fund with assets of €2bn.

See downloads (left hand column) for top sales table