Cedrus says €50m seed capital reached for new ESG opportunities fund-of-funds

Former consultancy firm that has broadened into asset management unveils new fund.

Cedrus Asset Management, the newly-launched Paris-based SRI combined adviser and asset manager, says it has taken in €50m in seed institutional money to its new Sustainable Opportunities fund-of-funds, which will be formally unveiled this week. Last month, Cedrus extended its SRI consultancy, which was branded as Cedrus Partners and advised on €350m of investor capital, into a dual consultancy/asset management business. NExT AM, the fund manager incubation arm of €36bn French funds house, La Française AM, which is a signatory to the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment, has taken a 20% stake in the venture, which includes €15m in assets invested in the new fund. The remaining capital is owned 80% by Cedrus Partners. Benoît Magnier, President of Cedrus Asset Management said the new institutional clients in the fund-of-funds included French retirement plans (Caisses de retraite), insurance companies and asset managers. He said the firm hoped to reach €100m in assets relatively quickly. The company has assembled a team of five, includingMagnier, three analysts and Annie Martinet-Villalon, Director of Investment Management and Research, a recent hiring from Amundi, France’s biggest asset manager, where she managed global and European equity fund-of-funds. Since 2004, Cedrus has managed a research database on global sustainable and responsible funds and Magnier said the accent in its fund recommendations to investors would be towards those funds demonstrating ESG Alpha. He said Cedrus would also have the ability to allocate strategically between funds based on equity risk and could also include pure green thematic funds for up to 50% of the total exposure, the first time the firm has included such recommendations.
“We think that what the ESG fund space lacks is a performance offering that is a bit sexy. There are a number of active SRI/ESG equity funds that are producing good performance, particularly in Europe and Japan.” Magnier said Cedrus would be looking to market the fund-of-funds product outside of its French home base as soon as possible.