SRI funds suffer outflows as market slump hits

KBC SRI fund sales stay strong despite sector outflows.

Belgian fund manager KBC far outsold its SRI fund peers in February this year with its KBC EquiPlus Head Start Sustainables 03 grossing an estimated €202.5m, more than four times its closest rival, according to figures compiled for Responsible Investor by Lipper FERI, the investment data group. 

Fellow Belgian fund manager Dexia had the second biggest selling fund with Dexia Fund Sustainable Equities Europe pulling in new clients assets of €51.5m for the month. It also had the third highest seller, the Dexia Equities L World Welfare fund, which sold €44.7m over the month.
The February fund sales show a swing back to sustainable equity funds following January’s shift by investors into SRI money markets after the turbulent equity markets of the start of the year. Money market funds continued to sell well in February with several amongst the top 20. However, outside of the top 20 selling SRI funds, many fund managers recorded asset withdrawals over the month with the remaining universe losing €138.7m in assets. AGF, the French funds subsidiary of Allianz GlobalInvestors, continues to manage Europe’s largest pure SRI classified fund, AGF Valeurs Durables, with assets of €1.26bn. The second largest European SRI fund is F&C’s Stewardship Growth fund with just under €1bn in assets.
In the ranking for funds investing in sectors with so-called ‘green’ themes such as the environment, water, climate change and renewable energy, the biggest grossing green fund for February was Swiss fund manager Julius Baer’s SAM Sustainable Water Fund, which collected an estimated €51.7m. Notably, however, many green funds saw net asset withdrawals in February. Outside of the top ten selling funds, other funds in the sector actually recorded €24.2m in asset withdrawals, suggesting investor concerns about their current return prospects.
In terms of overall assets the biggest ‘green’ fund remains Blackrock’s MLIIF– New Energy Fund with €4.4bn in assets. In second place is Pictet’s Water Fund with just under €3.5bn. Third in size is Julius Baer’s SAM Sustainable Water Fund with €1.65bn.