Friday Funds: ‘ESG Momentum’ in the spotlight with launches from Bloomberg, Rockefeller and Invesco

The latest developments in ESG-related funds

Bloomberg and Rockefeller Asset Management have teamed up on a new US All Cap Multi-Factor ESG Improvers Index, which ranks companies’ ESG improvements relative to industry peers. The index uses quality and low-volatility factors alongside Bloomberg data on the ESG momentum of companies and “shareholder engagement techniques”. Rockefeller’s Global Head of ESG Investments, Casey Clark, said “investors will increasingly differentiate between ESG leaders and improvers… and that the latter offers a greater potential for generating uncorrelated alpha over the long-term.”

Invesco has launched two new exchange-traded ESG funds, focused on listed equities. The Invesco MSCI Japan ESG Universal Screened UCITS ETF and the Invesco MSCI Pacific ex Japan ESG Universal Screened UCITS ETF are new additions to the index family that already includes global, European and US products. All exclude controversial business practices and apply ESG Momentum to increase exposure to companies that are actively improving their ESG profile.

UK-based charities and local authority investment manager CCLA is launching a Catholic Investment Fund in April, to invest in sustainable development in alignment with the teachings of the Catholic Church. The multi-asset fund will be open for investment from charities, including independent schools, and will be overseen by the Faith-Consistent Investment Committee, whose members will be appointed from Catholic religious orders, organisations and charities.

Storebrand Asset Management has launched the Sustainable Nordic Real Estate fund which will focus on “ decreas[ing] the environmental footprint [of properties] through action plans in the construction phase, in rehabilitation projects and real estate management”. It will focus on energy, waste and water improvements, and will target assets mainly in Norway and Sweden. 

Dedicated sustainability house OnePlanetCapital has teamed up with UK venture capital manager KIN Capital to launch an Enterprise Investment Fund – a UK fund structure that offers investors significant tax benefits to support start-ups in the country. The OnePlanetCapital Sustainable EIS Fund will focus on climate change, the environment and consumer sustainability.

MPC Capital has successfully raised kr857m for its new renewables platform MPC Energy Solutions through a private placement ahead of listing the vehicle on the Oslo Stock Exchange’s Euronext Growth segment. Investors in the placement were not disclosed, but MPC Capital co-invested in accordance with its strategy, it said.  

Luxembourg-based BlueOrchard Impact Investment Managers has invested $25m into the TriLinc Global Sustainable Income Fund, which invests in SMEs in developing markets. 

Liontrust's asset under management and advice hit £29.4bn at close of business on 31 December 2020, representing a 43% increase over the quarter, and 83% since the start of the current financial year, according to the specialist fund manager’s trading update.

The asset management arm of financial advisory heavyweight deVere Group has appointed Columbia Threadneedle Investments to run its new sustainability-focused global equity fund.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced the country will invest C$55m in a UN Land Degradation Neutrality Fund run by Mirova. The fund will “support sustainable land projects in low- and middle-income countries”, and Trudeau said future climate finance contributions from Canada would include funds for biodiversity.

Tabula Investment Management has launched what it claims is the world’s first fixed-income ETF aligned with the Paris Agreement. In accordance with the new regulatory category from the EU, the Tabula EUR IG Bond Paris-aligned Climate UCITS ETF will invest in companies with 50% lower greenhouse gas emissions than the benchmark with the goal of decarbonising by at least 7% annually.

The Barclays Bank UK Retirement Fund has integrated ESG factors across its £1.3bn Diversified Multi-Asset Growth Fund, it has said. As a result, the fund – managed by BlackRock's Factor Based Strategies Group – will screen investments to identify material ESG risks and target investments that represent material improvements in measures of ESG and carbon emissions intensity.

Aegon has set a 2050 net-zero target for its auto-enrolment default pension funds. As part of this, the financial services provider aims to cut the carbon emissions associated with default funds in half by 2030.