NU Online News Service, Nov. 14, 1:15 p.m. – U.S. mutual funds and institutional funds that consider “social” issues when screening investments now manage about $1.9 trillion in assets, up 42% from September 2001, according to a new report from Cerulli Associates Inc., Boston.

Researchers at the financial services consulting firm say the assets of U.S. socially conscious funds have been growing rapidly, in spite of the recent stock market slump, because socially conscious investors tend to take a longer-term approach to investing than other investors, and because new laws and corporate “social responsibility” initiatives are increasing demand for socially conscious investment services.

The funds are also benefiting from their emphasis on clear, honest corporate accounting and thorough reviews of corporate policies at a time when giant corporate accounting scandals have emphasized the importance of accounting integrity, the Cerulli researchers say.

The researchers say opportunities for socially conscious funds are even bigger in Europe, where the funds manage only $41 billion in assets, and in Canada, where they manage only $32 billion in assets.