Friday Funds, Feb 7: BMO, Aviva, Swedbank, Nordea

The latest responsible funds news

BNP Paribas has taken an undisclosed minority stake in Everland, a company focused on forest conservation projects and the voluntary carbon markets. In a statement, BNP Paribas said the deal will give it better access to carbon reduction credits.

Patron Capital, private equity real estate investment firm, has collaborated with Resonance, a social impact investor, to launch the world’s first property fund supporting women experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The Women In Safe Homes (WISH) Fund will aim to provide 750 affordable homes across the UK. Big Society Capital, a social impact investor, has agreed in principle to commit £100m (€117m).

Aviva has included its Stewardship funds range on its Advisers Platform, in a bid to provide an ethical ESG investing option for its pension customers. The Stewardship funds – Managed, UK Equity, UK Equity Income, International Equity and Bond – were launched in the 1980s, and currently have £2.4bn (€2.8bn) assets under management.

BMO Global Asset Management has rebadged the BMO European Equity Fund to better reflect the fund’s sustainability focus, it has said. “Minor changes” will also be made to the strategy, now called the BMO Sustainable Opportunities European Equity Fund, such as recognising companies who are “future proofing their businesses” within the research process, and leveraging engagement and voting to encourage best ESG practices.

Danske Invest, a Danish asset manager, has divested tobacco from its range of actively and passively managed funds, for both equities and bonds, citing client demand from Nordic countries. The policy will be implemented after November 19, the company said.

ResponsAbility Investments, the Swiss impact asset manager, has liquidated a sustainable agriculture open-ended retail fund after rising hedging costs, declining commodity prices and a volatile global economy resulted in poor performance. Since its launch, the fund has invested over $1bn in sustainable agriculture and reached more than 200 small agricultural businesses in 52 countries. The firm will continue to offer a private debt and private equity fund for institutional clients on the same theme.

Swedbank Robur, the asset management arm of Swedbank, has launched an emerging markets fund with a climate focus. The Access Edge Emerging Markets will invest 10% of assets in companies aiding the carbon transition by developing renewable energy, energy efficiency and environmental technology. The fund does not invest in companies involved in the extraction of coal, oil and gas, and those deriving more than 5% revenue from fossil fuel-generated energy.

London based investment manager Man Group has launched a new global sustainable growth fund targeting companies whose sustainability profile offers a competitive advantage. Then Man GLG RI Global Sustainable Growth, managed by Virginia Nordbäck and Rory Powe, will invest in a portfolio of 25 to 35 stocks across the market-cap spectrum with the aim of outperforming the MSCI World index.

LD Funds has appointed Nordea Investment Management as to manage its DKK 550m (€73m) sustainable active equity portfolio. Nordea, which saw off 17 other bidders in the tender process, will take over management of the LD Environment and Climate portfolio from 2020. The assets of the portfolio are also expected to be “significantly increased”, the Copenhagen-based pension fund revealed.