Friday Funds: BMO’s sustainability funds axe Microsoft over weapons exposure

The latest developments in ESG-related funds

BMO Global Asset Management has pulled its Sustainable Universal MAP funds out of Microsoft citing concerns about the potential use of the company’s products for military purposes. Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality system can be altered for use in conflict, and BMO portfolio manager Simon Holmes told Investment Week that “despite the fact there are some good things about [Microsoft]…we felt that because its weapons exposure had increased, it was no longer suitable for a sustainable project”.

Canadian pension fund Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and asset manager Cascades have sold their shares in European recycled cardboard firm Reno de Medici for around €365m. The interest, around 67% in total, has been acquired by Apollo Funds’ subsidiary Rimini, which plans to buy the remaining stake in the company later this year, with the aim of delisting it. 

The renewables platform of Egyptian financial services giant EFG Hermes has raised $200m for its fourth fund. Vortex Energy is targeting $750m for the vehicle over the next two years, and has so far attracted the backing of EFG Hermes and sovereign investors and family offices in Abu Dhabi, it said. It will invest in energy generation and storage, supply and demand-side energy services and electric vehicle charging facilities across Europe, North America, Latin America and Australia.   

Lyxor Asset Management has launched the first exchange-traded fund for euro-denominated sovereign green bonds. The fund will track the Solactive Euro Government Green Bond Index, which includes investment grade, CBI approved government bonds larger than €300m and with less than a year to maturity. 

German asset manager DWS has launched a debt fund for European sustainability-themed infrastructure sectors. The strategy will make up to 15 private investments, targeting a net yield of 3.5%. Around 70% will be in senior notes and 30% in junior notes.

BlackRock has launched a Systematic Multi-Strategy ESG Screened Fund, combining negative screening, long/short equity holdings and thematic investing. 

Nordea Asset Management has launched a Global Climate and Social Impact strategy to invest in global businesses which “provide meaningful solutions to address pressing social and environmental needs”.

The Norwegian Government has appointed its investment fund for developing countries, Norfund, to run a new climate investment fund. The government plans to allocate NOK10bn (€946m) over five years to the fund, to finance renewable energy in developing countries. Norfund and the government will each contribute NOK1bn a year.