Green funds recover slightly while SRI investors head for cash and bonds

KBC’s green funds sell well and BNP Paribas pulls in SRI cash during August.

Green funds returned to small but positive sales figures, while SRI investors kept buying but sought the safe havens of bond and cash funds during August, according to the latest available figures compiled for Responsible Investor by Lipper Feri, the investment data group.
 Investment into green themed investment funds in Europe rose by €64m ($85m) over the month of August, a plus after the sell-off in July when €202.9m was pulled from the sector as the credit crunch started to raise concerns about financing for renewable and clean energy projects. The best-selling green fund in August was Belgium manager KBC’s ECO Fund Climate Change, which pulled in €20.3m in client money. KBC’s ECO Fund Alternative Energy also had a good month, taking third spot with sales of €16.9m. In between the two KBC Belgian funds was Swiss manager Pictet’s Luxembourg domiciled Water fund, which took in €19.5m. The Pictet fund remains the second biggest green fund in Europe with total assets of €3.13bn behind US manager Blackrock’s New Energy Fund, which manages just over €4.3bn in total assets.Sales of SRI funds, which differ from their green peers by undergoing socially responsible screens, were positive again for August at a healthy €418.1m for the sector. The followed sales of €122.4m during July, a tonic after the dramatic investor exodus in June when the SRI universe lost €847m in client assets in a month. It suggests a return of confidence to SRI funds, despite the credit crisis, albeit before September’s market blowout. Investors notably sought safety in money market and fixed income funds. BNP Paribas’ SRI cash fund, Moné Etheis, topped the sales table with inflows of €172.7m, followed by KBC’s Obli Euro bond fund.
The largest SRI fund in Europe remains Robeco subsidiary SAM’s Sustainable Water fund with assets of just under €1.6bn. The second biggest is French fund manager Société Générale Asset Management’s, SGAM Invest Monetaire ISR, money markets fund, which runs just under €1.59bn.
See downloadable documents (left hand column) for August green and SRI sales