Saturday, April 07, 2007

SRI Funds in India

It has been over a year since Rajni Bakshi talked about Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) at the National Stock Exchange (NSE), Mumbai. She urged NSE to set up a sustainability index, similar to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and FTSE4Good. I couldn't agree more with her point that a sustainability index would bring clarity and form to the SRI landscape in India. It can move sustainability to the Indian mainstream.

Last year, I asked her if she was seeing any movement towards an index or for that matter if investment firms were indeed moving to set up SRI Funds in India. She replied saying there were faint rumblings but nothing concrete.

A couple of days ago, I came across this piece of news. The European asset management firm Robeco and Canara bank announced a joint venture. As part of this venture, SAM (Sustainable Asset Management) the Swiss subsidiary of Robeco will offer a SRI fund by the end of 2007.
Canara Robeco JV will bring into the Indian market clean technology, smart energy and water products. Sam has tremendous expertise in this segment and we hope to launch our products by end of this year. Sam's products are sold in Australia, China and Japan.

We are very bullish on our sustainability fund. The Indian market is in the beginning of the growth stage and there is tremendous potential for growth
I think this is a good beginning. For environmentally conscious, risk averse and lazy investors like me (too lazy to do active trading) this is great news. I hope NSE will show some leadership and work towards a sustainability index.

Update: ABM AMRO has also started a sustainability fund [via email, Rajni Bakshi]

2 comments:

Surya said...

Thanks for the links - I realised the ABN fund is already closed.

Will be nice if socially responsible investing picks up - I can imagine, a lot of people related to India in some way - NRIs looking to invest for India, as well as the newly rich in India and any one with a conscience and can afford some cash - would find this really attractive.

Wonder if any thing can be done to push this forward - do you have any thoughts, since you seem to have already done some research?

Riot said...

Surya,

I agree. Would be really nice if SRI picks up in India. I am not sure how to push things forward. Will keep an eye on developments. I will try and post if I find something more