EUROPE - Mandates from the Dutch metal industry fund PME and the Swiss Caisse de Prevoyance du Canton de Geneve (CIA) have buoyed Credit Lyonnais Asset Management's (CLAM) launch of its SRI subsidiary, Integral Development Asset Management (IDEAM).
Currently IDEAM manages e500 million in assets in total, of which e120m comes from PME and Sfr70 million from the CIA.
CLAM’s own SRI funds are to be managed or advised by IDEAM at a later date. “If we take into account what is to come from CLAM, the total amount is e700m,” said Xavier de Bayser, president of IDEAM.
The SRI-friendly Dutch market is where de Bayser sees the greatest potential, especially since the two main trade unions insist that within five years, funds should invest 50% with a SRI bias.
As for investment philosophy, de Bayser said: “We only take risks on stock selections according to SRI criteria, so we tend not to take sector, country or currency bets. Only on overweighting and underweighting companies.”
Undoubtedly, SRI is capturing more and more interest in Europe, however this does not come without its own problems said de Bayser: “More and more institutional investors are reflecting on this topic and the main question is, ‘are these funds performing or not’?
“This is a difficult question and the only way to reply is to have a very disciplined process where you take risk only on these criteria, because if you don’t its very difficult to prove that the SRI fund is performing.”
Furthermore, while these are long term investment strategies, it is still very important to have a financial filter to control the short term risk, emphasised de Bayser.
*IDEAM intends to bid for the Fonds de Réserve des Retraites’s (French state reserve fund) recently announced e100-200m SRI allocation.
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