GLOBAL – European investment fund association FEFSI says worldwide investment fund assets worldwide rose 7.1% in the first quarter of 2004 to 11.8 trillion euros.

“Asset growth was boosted by rising equity prices in almost all reporting countries and the ongoing net flow of new investments,” said Bernard Delbecque, senior economic adviser to the Brussels-based Fédération Européenne des Fonds et Sociétés d'Investissement in a release.

Net cash flow to equity, bond, balanced and money market funds worldwide rose to 195 billion euros from 57 billion euros in the fourth quarter of 2003. Equity funds attracted 114 billion euros.

UCITS assets increased by 6.5% in Europe, attracting 102 billion euros.

“Taking into account non-UCITS assets, the market share of Europe reached 38.9% and that of the US 48.3%.”

The report reveals that there were 54,640 mutual funds worldwide at the end of the first quarter this year – and that 41% of them were equity funds, 18% bonds, 21% mixed and nine percent money market.

Last month FEFSI said it wouldn’t take legal action over the European pension directive – despite earlier saying the directive is discriminatory.

The group – which is to change its name following its failed merger with the European Asset Management Association – had said the directive on occupational pensions represents a “serious impediment” to the single market for financial services.