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SRI generates interest

April 2005

SRI funds are among the new equity products now attracting interest in Asia, delegates were told at the Investment Company Institute’s conference in Hong Kong. However, the marketplace remains generally sceptical, concentrating mainly on security rather than diversification, thanks to high market volatility, a preponderance of ageing investors and a history of limited SRI funds.

Another drawback noted by the conference was that many government-controlled companies lack independent regulation or candid disclosure.

Nevertheless, delegates were reminded of SRI progress in Australia and Japan. The Ethical Investment Association had reported that the assets of Australian managed funds grew by 41 per cent between June 2003 and June 2004 to A$21.5billion ($16.6bn, £8.8bn), more than twice as fast as the country’s overall retail and wholesale investment market.

In Japan SRI funds are attracting younger female first-time investors. These investors are seen as environmentally aware people who are looking for prudence and disciplined management in their funds. The Association for Sustainable and Responsible Investment in Asia (ASrIA) has pointed out in its 2004 Hong Kong survey that SRI products are appealing to higher-income educated women. ASrIA expects more Asian SRI funds in 2005 and more information to be available on them.

The most consistent theme at the conference was the need for more and better investment education.


Further Information
http://www.asria.org
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