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European SRI mutual fund assets jump 43%

Total SRI fund assets rises to €49bn while number of funds grows to 437.

European SRI mutual funds won new business in the year to June 30, 2007 worth 43% more than the previous year, taking total assets to €49bn, according to figures compiled by Vigeo Italia, the SRI research company and Morningstar, the funds data provider
The number of mutual funds in the Europe rose by 13% over 12 months to reach 437, according to the review named Green Social and Ethical Funds in Europe, 2007. This compares to about 200 SRI mutual funds sold in the US managing about $200bn (€140bn), according to statistics from the US Social Investment Forum.
Equity and balanced funds make up 80.3% while fixed income funds account for 19.7% of the European total.
More than 65% of European funds are sold in France, the UK, Switzerland and Belgium, the review said. France has the largest coverage of SRI mutual funds with 90 different offerings on sale.
However, the UK remained the biggest SRI funds market in terms of assets with €12.5bn invested, a rise of 32% on the previous year. Belgium and Switzerland haverecorded the largest growth in assets with investment into funds jumping by 77% and 100% respectively.
The review shows that the largest SRI mutual fund in Europe is the Friends Provident Stewardship Fund with assets of €2.097bn. It is followed by Julius Baer’s SAM Sustainable Water Fund with €1.56bn and F&C’s Stewardship Growth Fund with €1.3bn.
The top performing SRI labelled fund over one year is the ABN Amro Brazil equity fund, which returned 49% in the 12 months to June 30. It is followed by Julius Baer’s Smart Energy Fund (+41.2%) and Sarasin’s New Energy Fund (+37.6%).
In terms of management fees, the review said the most expensive SRI funds were euro aggressive balanced products which charge an average of 1.65%. European bond funds were the cheapest, charging an average 0.75%.
Information on the report can be obtained from: simonetta.bono@vigeo.com