SRI and green themed funds pull in assets for start of year

Latest RI/Lipper FMI fund flow figures.

Both European SRI funds and themed RI funds, which include green investment strategies, enjoyed a steady inflow of assets during January, suggesting strong consumer sentiment in the sustainability theme on the back of the credit crisis, according to the latest available figures compiled for Responsible Investor by Lipper FMI, the investment data group. ‘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, made a notable return to the black with inflows of €251.6m during January; a tonic after sales for the sector fell by €841.3m in December last year.
The biggest seller was French bank, Crédit Agricole’s LCL Monetaire Large cash fund with receipts of €216.8m. Second best seller was a European investment grade corporate bond fund run by France’s ProBTP the social insurance group for the building sector plan, which took in assets of €44.5m Third was Swiss fund manager SAM’s Smart Energy Fund which recorded net inflows of €39m. The biggest ‘RI Screened’ fund remains Crédit Agricole’s LCL Monetaire Large with €2.5bn in assets. Second is Allianz’s Securicash SRI fund with just over €2bn. Third is SAM’s Sustainable Water fund with €1.18bn. The total RI screened sector is worth €52.5bn. Themed RI funds, which include green investmentstrategies, continued to pull in assets during January – despite some of the disappointment of December’s talks in Copenhagen – with total sales up by €287.6m over the month, after a bumper month of December when €2bn was taken in. The fund class, labelled by Lipper FMI as ‘RI Extended’, includes funds with multiple ethical exclusions, those following a norms-based strategy and themed climate change and microfinance funds. The biggest seller was BNP Paribas’ (formerly branded as Fortis pre-merger) Flexi III Equity China Environmental Fund, which took in €197.1m over the month. Second was another French manager, Ofivalmo’s OFI Tresor ISR European money market fund, which received new money worth €158.2m. Third was a French domiciled fund of Germany’s Allianz group, with its guaranteed fund, Allianz Formuléo ISR, which netted €55.3m. The largest ‘RI Extended’ fund is Blackrock’s New Energy Fund with €2.6bn. Second is Pictet’s Water fund with €2.27m. Third is Aviva’s short term Europe money market fund with €1.2bn. The ‘RI Extended’ sector is currently worth €23.3bn.
Total mainstream equity fund sales during January reached €8.7bn in a total funds market of €1.6 trillion.
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