Friday Funds: APG takes stake in French EV charging company

The latest developments in ESG-related funds: FCA approves Schroders Capital’s second LTAF; Veridien Global Investors launches climate ETF.

Dutch giant APG Asset Management has aquired a minority stake in French electric vehicle charging company Driveco for €250 million on behalf of pension funds ABP and PPF. Existing shareholders Mirova and Corsica Sole will remain majority owners. Driveco plans to continue developing its network of charging stations in France and Belgium, and also expand internationally to Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has approved the launch of Schroders Capital’s second Long-Term Asset Fund (LTAF). Schroders’ private markets division in March launched the UK’s first LTAF, which is dedicated to the net-zero transition and climate change. Its second LTAF will focus on renewable energy and the energy transition. The fund will be managed by its renewable energy specialist manager Schroders Greencoat. It is the first LTAF authorised in the UK to have an investment remit focused only on renewable energy and energy transition-aligned infrastructure.

Veridien Global Investors has launched an ETF focused on investing in companies and technologies which contribute to climate change mitigation. The Veridien Climate Action ETF (CLIA) launch comes amid reports that ESG fund launches slowed in Q1 due to increasing regulatory burdens and the anti-ESG movement in the US. Bloomberg data showed that ESG ETF launches were down 43 percent from the first quarter of 2022 this year.

Swedish Article 9 funds saw their assets under management drop marginally in Q1, while Article 8 funds increased their AUM by more than 5 percent, according to data from the Swedish Investment Fund Association (SIFA). The less stringent Article 8 funds currently dominate the Swedish fund market, with a 93 percent share of total AUM, the same as last year’s final quarter. Assets in Article 8 funds increased by SKr277 billion ($26.9 billion, €24.6 billion) to SKr5,768 billion. However, the total number of Article 8 funds decreased from 1,009 to 941. Article 9 fund assets reached SKr109 billion at the end of Q1, around 3.5 percent lower than in Q4 last year. The number of funds fell from 67 to 62. Article 9 funds saw significant AUM drops at the end of 2022 as managers downgraded funds amid ongoing developments and uncertainty around the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR).