Socially responsible investment in the spanish financial market

Journal of Business Ethics 69 (3):305 - 316 (2006)
Abstract
This paper reviews the development of socially responsible investment (SRI) in the Spanish financial market. The year, 1997 saw the appearance in Spain of the first SRI mutual fund, but it was not until late 1999, that major Spanish fund managers offered SRI mutual funds on the retail market. The development of SRI in the Spanish financial market has not experienced the high levels of development seen in other European countries, such as France or Italy, where interest in SRI began during the same period. This paper presents an analysis of the impact of SRI mutual funds managed by Spanish fund managers comparing the evolution of managed assets and number of investors. We also analyse the investment strategies adopted by these funds, which mainly use negative screening criteria and the participation of non-governmental organisations as institutional investors. An analysis of the take up of socially responsible investment in the Spanish financial market shows majors deficits in this process. This is due to Spanish investors having limited sensitivity to social issues and knowledge of SRI, and a lack of development of SRI investment strategies, such as engagement or shareholder activism by fund managers. Furthermore, the take-up of SRI mutual funds in the Spanish financial market coincided with a fall in the stock market at the beginning of the 21st Century. We conclude with an analysis of the relationship between SRI and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Keywords Socially Responsible Investment (SRI)  engagement  Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)  financial Performance
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