Socially responsible investment assets totaled $2.29 trillion at year-end 2004, up 6% from $2.16 trillion two years earlier and 258% higher than $639 billion at the end of 1994, according to Social Investment Forum's fifth biennial report on SRI trends, released today.
By comparison, the broader universe of professionally managed assets rose 27% to $24.4 trillion in 2004 from $19.2 trillion in 2002 and 249% from $7 trillion in 1994, according to the report, which used data from Thomson Financial and Nelson Information's Directory of Investment Managers. The report doesn't examine performance.
Almost 10% of all professionally managed assets are now "tied in some way to SRI" through investment screening, shareholder advocacy or community investing, Timothy H. Smith, president of the Social Investment Forum and senior vice president at Walden Asset Management, said at a teleconference today.
The recent falloff in the rate of SRI growth doesn't take into account that more mainstream investors are incorporating SRI issues, including environmental and corporate governance concerns, into their investment process, nor does it reflect active proxy voting by some major institutional investors or recent Sudan divestment moves by public retirement funds in Illinois and New Jersey, Mr. Smith added.
"The old wall that separated social and environmental issues from corporate governance issues is crumbling," Mr. Smith said at the teleconference. "These issues are merging together."