European investment funds rise 12% - FEFSI

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EUROPE – The combined assets of the European investment fund market rise by 12% in 2003, said industry body FEFSI.

“The overall result for 2003 was an increase of 12% (or 511 billion euros) in total fund assets,” said the Fédération Européenne des Fonds et Sociétés d'Investissement in a release.

“This increase was driven by investments into bond, money market and property funds during the first half of 2003, and by the resumption of demand for equity-based funds in the second half of the year.”

“Clearly the strong performance of the industry in 2003 underlines investors’ ongoing trust in investment funds. If the stock market recovery proves sustainable, the growth in fund assets should continue into 2004.”

The 3.7 trillion euros invested in UCITS, or Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities, accounted for 78% of the fund market at the end of last year. The UCITS market grew by 12.7% in 2003, FEFSI said.

Inflows into UCITS equity funds reached 37 billion euros in the fourth quarter of 2003, the highest for three years. “Meanwhile flows to bond funds have dried up in the fourth quarter and the outflow from money market funds peaked at 10 billion euros from 1.6 billion euros in the third quarter.”

Total assets in the non-UCITS market – comprising German Spezialfonds, UK closed-end investment trust, real estate funds and French open-ended employee savings funds - rose almost 10%.

FEFSI is in the process of merging with the European Asset Management Association.

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