FRANCE - The size of socially responsible investments in France reached 4.5 billion euros at the end of March from 4.4 billion euros at the end of December, reveals a report by Novethic, a subsidiary of CDC-IXIS.

Nine months ago, SRI investments in France stood at 2.8 billion euros.

French and foreign equities shares are the dominant asset class of French SRI with 2.3 billion euros, 54% of the market. Balanced funds come second with 27% or 1.25 billion euros.

Bonds and cash funds, at 732 million euros, make up 16% of the market, with funds of funds, at 36 million euros, represent one per cent.

“Even if the market stays very heterogeneous, the beginning of the year clearly confirms asset managers’ tendency to increase the size of SRI,” said Novethic, adding that in the first quarter of 2004 the number of SRI funds increased by 10%, from 108 to 118.

Orsay Gestion is one of the two new entries among investment management companies. There are now 49 SRI managers in France, the report says. Orsay is a distributor for German asset manager Westam.

Novethic said CDC IXIS no longer operates the funds of funds known as CDC Meridian Tomorrow.

“Two investment companies have proposed two SRIs, which are very different, but which have an innovative aspect in common,” Novethic argues, introducing Proxinvest Active Investors and Oblideam Eurospread.

Novethic reports on SRI every three months.