SRI assets jump, according to forum report

U.S. socially responsible investing grew to $2.71 trillion as of year-end 2006, up 18% from $2.29 trillion at the end of 2004, according to the Social Investment Forumís sixth biennial report on SRI trends released today.

The increase in assets in SRI strategies is above the 3% increase in the $25.1 trillion in overall professionally managed assets over the same two-year period, based on Nelson Informationís Directory of Investment Managers data, according to the report.

Socially screened separate accounts had $1.92 trillion in assets, the largest among SRI strategies, as of Dec. 31, 2006, up 27% from $1.51 trillion at the end of 2004. Institutional investors accounted for 97.9% of the socially screened assets; public funds, including employee pension plans and other publicly pooled portfolios, represented nearly $1.16 trillion in socially screened assets.

At a teleconference today unveiling ďThe 2007 Report on Socially Responsible Investing Trends in the United States,Ē Alisa Gravitz, SIF board member and trends report committee chairwoman, said institutional investors are driven to SRI by concern about climate risks, environmental issues and opportunities in alternative energy and companies involved in promoting clean technology.

The report estimates an additional $5.3 billion is under management in socially or environmentally screened alternative investment vehicles, such as hedge funds and venture capital; those assets arenít included in the report.

The report was partially financed by the $17 billion General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of the United Methodist Church; TIAA-CREF; RiskMetrics Group; and KLD Research & Analytics.