French SRI assets jump by 70% in one year

Assets pass the €50bn mark, with retail funds recording highest growth.

SRI assets in France rose by 70% during 2009 to pass the €50bn mark, a rise of €20.8bn from the end of 2008 to the end of 2009, despite the fallout of the market crisis, according to the latest market survey by Novethic, the French sustainable investment research group. Within that overall rise, SRI retail asset growth was highest at 111% growth over the year to reach €15.6bn (€7.4 in 2008). Novethic said the retail rise reflected increasing sales of SRI funds by large bank and insurance groups as well as a development in product offering for France’s employee savings plans. Institutional assets, however, still dominate French SRI assets (69% of the total) and they rose by 56% in 2009 to reach €35.1bn in total.
The institutional rise came despite the absence of any large mandates in the market in 2009.A switch by a number of fund managers to incorporate SRI factors into existing funds – notably money market products – was one major driver of this growth, said Novethic. Novethic said insurance companies in France had, for the first time, become the largest managers of institutional SRI funds with 28% of institutional SRI assets. Separately, a recent study on ESG integration in investment groups present in France, revealed that 59% of respondents have or aim to join the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment. The survey by EthiFinance, the extra financial rating agent, RSEGo Between, and advisory firm, and the laboratoire d’Econométrie de l’Ecole Polytechnique, contacted 118 firms, of which 47 responded. Eleven firms have already signed (23%) and a further 36% of respondents said they would sign up in the short-term.
Link to Novethic report