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Index giant, Vanguard, leads SRI fund sales at year start

Sales of green funds also power ahead as 2011 begins.

Vanguard, the US index fund giant, leapt to become the biggest seller of European SRI retail funds during the first month of 2011 in a tough month for the sector as a whole, according to the latest available figures compiled for Responsible Investor by Lipper FMI, the investment data group. The sector for ‘RI screened’ funds, as they are labelled by Lipper FMI, which have undergone an ‘extra-financial’ ESG (environment, social and governance) screen in their stock selection process, was hit by total losses of €742m in January, compared with inflows of €623.8m in December, 2010. The best selling RI Screened fund for the month was Vanguard’s SRI European Stock fund, which netted €225.4m. The fund was launched in September last year after the index giant made a late entry into the European SRI market with two funds, the other being the Vanguard SRI Global Stock Fund. Both funds are domiciled in Dublin and screen out companies associated with violations of the UN Global Compact or the production of military anti-personnel weapons or weapons of mass destruction. Only two funds made it into treble figures for the month and the second was French manager Macif’s Court Terme ISR (SRI short-term) cash fund with sales of €115.5m. Third was Swiss asset manager, Lombard Odier’s tie-up with Generation Investment Management, the LO Funds – Generation Global, which took in €66m. The largest RIScreened fund is Amundi’s Tréso ISR fund with €7bn. Second is Natixis’ Fonsicav with €6.4bn. Third is Allianz’s Securicash fund with €1.1bn.Sales of green themed and norms-based European RI retail funds, however, continued to power on in January, taking in €1.48bn in assets to add to the €841.3m they gathered in December. 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. Norwegian financial services group, Storebrand, dominated sales for the second month running with large inflows into its range of bond funds.
The firm’s Global Stat bond/global currency fund lead with sales of €564.6m. Its Global Kreditt IG fund was second with receipts of €442.5m.
Third was its Stat A Norwegian government bond fund with inflows of €379.3m. The best selling pure green fund during January was Schroders, the UK fund manager’s ISF-Global Climate Change Equity, which took in €21.6m.
The largest fund in the sector is Pictet’s Water fund with assets of €2.4bn. Second is Blackrock’s Energy Fund with assets of just under €2bn. Third is Storebrand’s Global Stat fund with €1.35m. Total mainstream European equity fund sales during January were €15.2bn.
For full table see downloadable documents (left hand column)