The sun is shining brightly this morning here at my personal HQ in Glasgow (I’m lying, of course), but in the European fund industry it is still somewhat hidden behind the clouds. That, at least, is what latest monthly figures from the fund research firm Lipper FMI suggest.

This time last year, the global financial crisis was starting to bite for real and Lipper FMI reported some of the worst redemption figures the European fund industry had ever seen. In June 2008, European fund assets dropped by a stonking -€240bn and net redemptions totalled -€33bn. One might expect better things from the June 2009 figures – and they are better, but not that much better.

The latest industry statistics can perhaps best be described as mealy-mouthed. They hint at a recovery, but it’s nothing to write home about. Net inflows into long-term funds slowed, but remained positive at €4bn for bonds funds and €7bn for equity funds. However, money market funds saw net redemptions of €22bn (mainly due to cyclical exits in France), which dragged the monthly total into the red to the tune of -€8bn.

From these figures, Lipper FMI draws lessons about the shape of the recovery. “In the alphabet soup of recovery options the consensus, certainly amongst investors, seemed to favour the ‘W’-shaped option (rather than L-U or V) and although money continued to flow into higher risk funds, the brakes were softly applied,” the research firm says.

Up and down, in other words, instead of just up.

But if the sun is hiding from the industry as a whole, it is most definitely shining on Carmignac Gestion. For the second month in a row the Paris-based firm topped Lipper FMI’s European investment fund net-inflow table with net sales of €2.1bn. The French firm also led the field for the first half of 2009 with half-yearly net inflows of €7.5bn.

And if you’re not Carmignac and would still like some sunshine in your life, you might like to consider ‘investing in sunshine’. According to Ralf Klesy, CEO KuK Marketing-Services, interest in ‘sunny investments’ – ie investment pools that invest in solar and photovoltaic installations – has increased sharply recently. The main markets are Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece, but KuK is now bringing these sun-filled investment pools, which mainly have a closed form, to the less sun-drenched German-speaking countries.

“The solar market has a secure future,” says Klesy, whose firm specialises in introducing investment and financial product suppliers to the German-speaking markets. “Thanks to rising demand and steadily improving technology, it will offer high-returning investment opportunities for decades to come.”


Fiona Rintoul, editorial director
©2009 funds europe