The Social Investment Forum’s 2003 Report on Socially Responsible Investing Trends in the United States found that US assets in socially screened portfolios climbed to $2.15 trillion in 2003, up from the $2.01 trillion in 2001. The 7% increase by screened portfolios over 2001 compared to a 4% drop in the broader universe of all professionally managed portfolios during the same period, according to a Forum news release. Adding in assets from community investing and shareholder advocacy brought the SRI total to $2.18 trillion.
“During 2001 and 2002, as the economy receded and the overall stock and bond markets lost ground, the assets in socially and environmentally responsible portfolios proved remarkably robust,” commented Social Investment Forum President Tim Smith in a statement. “This is encouraging evidence that the increasingly popular strategies of screening, shareholder advocacy and community investing are working together to sustain and deepen the appeal of socially responsible investing.”
Other study results included:
- Socially responsible mutual funds increased in number to 200 in 2003, up from 181 in 2001, 168 in 1999, and 139 in 1997. Assets in socially screened mutual funds grew by 19%, to $162 billion, up from $136 billion in 2001. More than half (51%) of this growth is attributed to both newly identified and newly created funds and 49% represents growth in existing assets.
- Of the $2.15 trillion in socially screened portfolios, $1.99 trillion are found in separate accounts with the remaining $162 billion in mutual funds. Assets in socially screened separate accounts grew by 7% since 2001.
- Between 2001 and 2003, shareholder advocacy activity increased by 15%, growing from 269 social and crossover resolutions (which combined aspects of both social and traditional corporate governance issues) filed in 2001 to 310 in 2003. Likewise the average percentage of votes received on these resolutions increased from 8.7% in 2001 to 11.4% in 2003.
- Community investing climbed 84% between 2001 and 2003. Assets held and invested locally by US community development financial institutions (CDFIs) totaled $14 billion in 2003, up from $7.6 billion in 2001.
For a full copy of the Report go to www.socialinvest.org/areas/research/trends/sri_trends_report_2003.pdf .