Social funds buck market as top performer hits 10.25% for 2011: RI publishes Cedrus top perf stats

Top 5 performing funds data across 11 sustainability themed asset segments.

Paris-based private bank, Banque Saint Olive, produced the best performing fund out of 500 global sustainability-themed and ESG funds with absolute returns of 10.25% for 2011 for its bio health fund, BSO Bio Santé, as social themes were one sector that held up against the market downturn. The performance data from Cedrus Partners, the Paris-based SRI research house, comprises its annual figures on 500 sustainability-oriented funds based on Morningstar data. RI is publishing the top 5 performers across 11 asset class segments from water funds to sustainable energy, ESG eurozone and ESG world funds.
The performance chart can be accessed in the downloads section: left hand column.
In terms of thematic funds, Cedrus said water and social themes held up in 2011 in terms of performance, while environmental and clean energy funds experienced a second bad year in a row. The top quartile of water funds returned an average -1.1% (negative), while the top quartile of social-themed funds returned 3.9% (positive).
Regarding ESG funds, the data shows that top quartile funds tended to outperform respective benchmarks, while broader peer performance was under benchmark. For example, the best performing fund for 2011 in theESG Europe class was Pictet’s European Sustainable Equity Fund, which returned -7.05% (negative), while the Stoxx Europe 600 index was down by -11.34% over the year. However, the performance of the broader ESG Europe peer group was down -3.3% below the Stoxx 600 performance.
Cedrus said that average performance across most ESG funds was broadly in line with major market indices.
Interestingly, two fund managers that have been in the news recently, managers Henderson and Aviva, had some strongly performing funds compared with peers. Amongst UK ESG funds, Henderson’s Global Care UK Income fund was the top performer with returns of 2.76%.
Aviva Investors Sustainable Future Pan European Equities fund was the second best performing ESG Europe fund, returning -8.21%.
Outflows from themed and ESG equities funds in 2011 were limited to 5% of the total despite the market downturn. Cedrus said the number of sustainability funds being launched was still rising, particularly ESG Eurozone (up from 36 to 48) and ESG World funds (up from 27 to 41). The number of global environment themed funds dropped slightly from 47 to 44, but the numbers of other themed funds remained broadly the same.