Oct. 29, 2003 — The number of so-called socially responsible mutual funds increased over the last two years, as did assets invested in them, according to a report released today by an industry group.

There are now 200 socially responsible funds, compared to 181 in 2001, the Social Investment Forum said. Assets in these funds, which base investments on social, environmental and political criteria, rose 19% to $162 billion from $136 billion two years ago, the organization said.

Newly created funds were responsible for 51% of the asset growth, with the remainder generated from existing funds, the group said in its 2003 report on socially responsible investing trends in the U.S.

Assets held in all socially screened portfolios reportedly climbed to $2.15 trillion this year from $2.01 trillion in 2001, the group said. The latest total includes $1.99 trillion in so-called separately managed accounts, that is, privately managed portfolios for individuals and institutions.

Socially responsible investments increased and attracted more assets over the last two years because the products turned in strong performances, and because their investors have long-term outlooks, said Reggie Stanley, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Calvert Funds, a socially responsible fund company.