By: Murray McNeill
INVESTORS are sticking with socially responsible investing, despite the recession and recent stock market meltdown, industry officials say.
"Basically, the question is how is the industry faring through the downturn, and the consensus is that it's faring quite well," Eugene Ellmen, executive director of the Toronto-based Social Investment Organization, said in an interview Tuesday.
Ellmen and SIO president Cheryl Crowe said not only are SRI funds experiencing lower shareholder-redemption rates than many conventional funds, but the amount of money being invested in them continues to grow.
Crowe, an SRI specialist with Assiniboine Credit Union, said that during the stock market turmoil of the last two years, the value of assets invested according to SIR guidelines has increased by 21 per cent to $609.2 billion from $503.6 billion.
"What that is saying is that we're getting new assets coming in," she said on the final day of a three-day SRI conference in Winnipeg. The conference drew 164 delegates from across the country as well as the United States and Europe.
Crowe said what started in the 1980s as a niche segment of the investment market has now become mainstream.
Ellmen also said while many conventional funds have been hit with high shareholder redemptions since last fall, that hasn't been the case with most SRI funds.
"The good news is our investors are also staying with us. They're investing for the long-term, and they're prepared to ride it out."
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