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Nokia tops SRI league table

December 2002

Nokia is the stock most commonly held by socially responsible investment funds in Europe.

The Finnish telecoms firm is now a more popular pick than the previous favourite, Vodafone, according to an analysis of European SRI funds by the Sustainable Investment Research International Group (SiRi), a coalition of 11 national SRI research bodies.

In its 2002 report on ethical funds in Europe, SiRi reveals that pharmaceuticals firm Johnson & Johnson has moved from fourth place into second, with Vodafone in third place.

New entrants to the top ten, which shows European SRI holdings at the start of this year, are Vivendi, Shell, BP and the US DIY chain Home Depot.

Banks are to the fore, with ING (5th), Lloyds TSB (12th), Royal Bank of Scotland (17th) and BNP Paribas (19th) all featuring in the top 20. Another telecoms company, Ericsson, has come in at 14, while two computer companies, Intel and Microsoft, remain in the top 20 (11th and 18th respectively).

In terms of the funds themselves, SiRi finds 280 ‘green, social and ethical funds’ in Europe – up from 251 in 2001, despite what it calls ‘a difficult period for asset management’.

Four countries were home to 192 (68 per cent) of Europe’s SRI funds. The UK had the most (60), followed by Sweden (56), France (43) and Belgium (33). These figures include some funds domiciled in Luxembourg but owned by asset managers based in other countries.

The numerical dominance of UK funds in Europe is declining. The proportion of European funds based in the UK fell from a third at the end of 1999 to one in five (21 per cent) at the end of 2001.

Total assets under SRI management in Europe stood at €14.4billion ($14.5bn, £9.2bn) at the beginning of this year, down from more than €15bn in the previous report. The average SRI fund managed €51million, compared with the average of €140m for all types of European fund. SRI funds are a tiny proportion of all funds under management in Europe – 0.4 per cent, down slightly from 2001.

In Belgium, SRI funds represented 1.7 per cent of assets under management – up from 1.47 per cent in 2001 – and in the Netherlands the figure was 1.61 per cent (1.45 per cent).

The UK-based Friends Provident fund, managed by Friends Ivory & Sime, was Europe’s largest SRI fund, with €919m under management.

The survey covered retail funds in 17 European countries. In three of them – Greece, Ireland and Portugal – it found no SRI funds at all.

Corporate community policies have overtaken the environment as the biggest issue for SRI retail investors in the US, according to the Calvert group.

Its study of 800 investors found 71 per cent put community issues at the top of their list of things they wanted companies to address, ahead of the environment (67 per cent).




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