Friday Funds: Jupiter, La Banque Postale, Mirova named as top climate performers

The latest responsible fund news

Royal London Asset Management (RLAM) has launched the Global Sustainable Equity Fund, an active portfolio of 30 to 50 stocks representing “the best sustainable ideas from around the world”. Aimed at both wholesale and institutional clients, the fund is benchmarked against the MSCI ACWI Investable Market Index and selects companies that are either leaders in managing ESG impacts, or provide products and services that benefit society. Head of Sustainable Investments Mike Fox will manage the fund alongside the newly-hired George Crowdy, who moves from Janus Henderson’s Global Sustainable Equity team.

15 investment companies have been named as top climate performers by Climetrics, the fund-rating project developed by CDP and ISS-ESG to rank 17,000 funds on their approach to the low-carbon transition. Funds from La Banque Postale Asset Management, Ecofi Investissements and Mirova won out in the European equity strategy, with Jupiter, Storebrand, Swedbank Robur, Ecofi and Meeschaert Asset Management named the top climate performers in the global equity category. In the emerging markets category, Comgest, First State, Raiffeisen Kapitalanlage-Gesellschaft, RBC Global Asset Management and SPP came out on top, though none of the selected funds received the top “five-leaf” rating.

Legal & General Investment Management Real Assets has committed €120m to refinancing a solar portfolio in Spain, part of a €342m transaction with commitments from another unnamed institutional investor. The 21 operational assets are owned and operated by Spanish renewables manager Q-Energy and derive revenues from a “highly supportive regulatory framework that provides for long term stability of cash flows”, the firm said. The investment represents Legal & General’s first renewable energy transaction in continental Europe and brings its renewables portfolio to over £1.1bn. 

Generali Investments has launched the new Generali Investments SICAV (GIS) Euro Green & Sustainable Bond sub-fund. The product invests primarily in euro-denominated green and sustainable investment-grade bonds and is designed to outperform its benchmark, the Bloomberg MSCI Euro Green Bond Index. It also integrates Generali’s ethical filter, to screen and identify potential ESG controversies affecting issuers, and an ESG Risk Rating provided by Sustainalytics, to monitor issuers on broader ESG criteria. It is registered for sale in Italy, France, Germany, Austria and Spain.

US Solar Fund (USF), run by Australian-American firm New Energy Solar Manager, has agreed to acquire a 61MW solar portfolio in Oregon from US developer Southern Current. The four projects have long-term power purchase agreements in place and will become operational in coming months. USF will fund the deal with available cash from approximately 30% of its IPO proceeds, it said. 

Invesco has launched what it says is Europe’s first sterling corporate bond ETF with an ESG tilt. Listed on the London Stock Exchange with a total expense ratio of 0.10%, the Invesco GBP Corporate Bond ESG UCITS ETF tracks the Bloomberg Barclays MSCI Sterling Liquid Corporate ESG Weighted Bond index, performs a series of exclusions, and weights constituents according to ESG factors. To be included in the index, securities must be issued by companies in developed markets and have £350m minimum outstanding.

Australia’s mutual fund assets in sustainable investments surged 23% in 2019 to A$66.8 bn ($46.7bn), gathereding A$1.2bn in inflows over the same period, according to Cerulli Associates. Cerulli found that 88.2% of Australian institutional investors named ESG integration as their most preferred method of incorporating ESG considerations into investment decisions, followed by negative/exclusionary screening at 82.4%. Momentum is also building in ESG-oriented ETFs, Cerulli said, with AUM surging almost fourfold from A$554.1m in 2017 to A$2.2bn in 2019, while inflows reached A$741.3m last year, a growth of 11.1% year on year.

Milan-based sustainability-focused private equity investor Ambienta has announced the 100% acquisition of 1st Vision, the North American distributor of machine vision and imaging products. 1st Vision will become part of Ambienta’s Next Imaging platform, which launched in 2018 with the acquisition of Image S.