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SRI Equity Funds Swim Against the Outgoing Tide

Angst about the turn for the worse taken by Sino-US trade talks hit EPFR-tracked Equity Funds hard heading into mid-May, with redemptions from all Equity Funds around the $20 billion mark for the second week running and Emerging Markets Equity Funds chalking up their biggest weekly outflow since late March.

There were a few exceptions to the general direction of Equity Fund flows. Some of the more defensive Sector Fund groups and oversold Country Fund groups attracted fresh money, and an influx of cash into domestically domiciled ETFs lifted the headline number for China Equity Funds to a 29-week high. Equity Funds with socially responsible (SRI) or environmental, social and governance (ESG) mandates also recorded collective net inflows -- for the 19th time in the past 20 weeks -- while flows to SRI/ESG Bond Funds hit a level last seen in early 2Q16.

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Overall, the week ending May 15 saw another $19.5 billion flow out of EPFR-tracked Equity Funds while Bond Funds collectively absorbed another $5 billion and Money Market Funds $1.6 billion. Investors also pulled $1.2 billion from Alternative Funds and $2.2 billion from Balanced Funds.

At the single country and asset class fund levels, Korea Equity Funds snapped their longest outflow streak since 3Q16 while redemptions from Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia Equity Funds hit levels last seen in 2Q18, 4Q16 and 2Q13 respectively. Bank Loan, Convertible and Inflation Protected Bond Funds saw their current redemption streaks extended by another week and High Yield Bond Funds recorded their biggest outflow since late December.

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