FRANCE – The European Sustainable and Responsible Investment Forum, or Eurosif, has hired its first executive director – Matt Christensen, a former director at UK media company Motley Fool.

Eurosif was created in 2001 - with European Commission support - by five European social investment forums from France, the German-speaking countries, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK.

Eurosif said Christensen was formerly the European development director at the Motley Fool, a UK based personal finance and shareholder advocacy outfit. Most recently, he was a freelance consultant in France. “He will be basing Eurosif in Paris,” Eurosif said in a news release.

The appointment is timely, with a study earlier this month by WestLB Panmure finding that SRI investing can pay off. “There is an additional return even after risk adjustment,” it said, estimating the 'style' alpha at 2.1% per annum.

Christensen said: “I am delighted to be joining an organisation with a compelling mission and a strong commitment from the European Commission, national social investment forums and key players in the European SRI sector.”

Eurosif recently received funding from the EC to develop pan-European transparency guidelines for retail sustainable and responsible investment funds. The guidelines are to be based on the Dutch transparency guidelines launched earlier this year by the Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development, or VBDO.

The body plans to report on the size of the European institutional SRI market in the autumn of 2003.