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Pension funds drive SRI boom in France

FRANCE - Socially responsible investment (SRI) by institutions more than doubled in France last year.

Institutions held €10.5bn in SRI assets to the end of 2006 - an increase of 104% on the previous year - the research institute Novethic found in its latest report on SRI in France.

In 2005, institutional investors invested €5.4bn in SRI assets, accounting for 58% of the total SRI market. But in 2006 the SRI market grew by 88% and the institutions increased their share to 63%.

Novethic said the trend was certainly fuelled by the two largest pension funds in the country, the Fonds de réserves pour les retraites (FRR) and the Etablissement de Retraite Additionnnelle de la Fonction Publique (ERAFP), the mandatory supplementary pension scheme of French public servants, going into SRI.

The research subsidiary of state-owned financial service provider Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations also found institutional investors appear to have moved, in the main, from pooled SRI funds to specialist mandates.

In 2006, the demand for specialist SRI mandates grew by 178% among institutions, however, pooled vehicles still make up 58% of total SRI assets.

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