SWITZERLAND - Sustainable investments in Switzerland were worth a record high of CHF34.1bn (€23.3bn) by the end of 2009.

This corresponds to a 63.4% increase for the sustainable market covering funds, mandates and structured products on December 2008, when assets stood at CHF20.9bn.

Sustainable fund themselves saw assets grow by 54.4% over the same time period. In comparison, assets under management for comparable fund categories by Swiss fund providers increased by 12.2% between December 2008 to December 2009.

This also meant that at the end of 2009 the sustainable market in Switzerland had reached and surpassed the previous peak value of CHF34bn experienced before the financial crisis, according to the report by specialist investment consulting and research company onValues.

Sustainable investment funds also experienced a considerably higher cash inflow than the market average in 2009. Net asset inflow into sustainable funds was put at approximately 22.9% of assets raised, compared to 4.5% experienced by the average Swiss fund provider in 2009, the report claimed.

Retail and private banking investors further expanded their pole position in the market from around 51% to 55.4% of the total market share, thereby remaining ahead of institutional investors with 44.6%.
And equities remained the most important asset class in the sustainable investment market with its 61.5% market share, although the sector has seen its preferred sector position cut somewhat in favour of fixed income investments.

Certain thematic equity funds, structured products, sustainable real estate and emerging markets, in particular, recorded high net inflows in 2009.

Funds account for around 55% of sustainable investments, mandates totalled 40% of holdings and structured products contributed 5% of the total sustainable investment market volume in Switzerland.

A total of 19 managers reported their assets under management in a range of different sustainable investment styles to the survey. They expect growth rates in the sustainable market to double in the next three years, compared to total market, with themed equity approaches and real estate believed to benefit the most and the majority of its investors stemming from the institutional side.

In the UK, the FTSE4Good Index Series, which has been designed to measure the performance of companies which meet globally-recognised corporate responsibility standards, added 23 companies to its series. Five companies - CNA Financial, H&R Block, Sodexo, Ezaki Glico and Tokai Rika - have been deleted for not meeting either the FTSE4Good Environmental or Human & Labour Rights criteria.

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