FRANCE - Assets of ethical funds in the French market have more than doubled in the past two years, according to socially responsible investing consultant Novethic.

A survey by Novethic, a subsidiary of the Caisse des dépôts (CDC), shows that total assets under management by open-ended domestic and foreign SRI funds available in the French market topped €5bn in 2004, compared with €2.5bn in 2002.

SRI assets managed by French funds increased 24% in 2004 to €3.6bn. Assets under French SRI management have grown nearly fourfold in three years.

The number of funds available to French investors increased by 14 to 122 last year. New players in the market were Orsay Gestion, JP Morgan Fleming and Fédéris Gestion.

Among SRI asset managers, Dexia Asset Management remained the market leader, with more than €1bn assets in SRI funds available in France. BNP Paribas Asset Management was ranked second.

Macif Gestion moved up from sixth to third place in 2004, as a result of the strong rise in its bond and money market funds during the year, while UBS Asset Management fell from third to seventh place

IDEAM and Ixis AM retained fourth and fifth places respectively, while AXA Investment Managers moved up from seventh to sixth place.

Vigeo remains the leading social rating agency with 47% of the market, followed by Eiris with 13%. Innovest is third, up three places since 2003, with 10% of the market.