Friday Funds: Launches by MAPFRE, Morgan Stanley, Candriam and more

The latest developments in ESG-related funds

Global insurance firm MAPFRE Group has teamed up with impact investment specialist Global Social Impact (GSI) to launch the Global Social Impact Fund, which aims to raise €50m for high social impact companies in both frontier and emerging markets. Initially, the vehicle will invest in short- and medium-term debt from companies in sub-Saharan Africa; with the hope to later expand into Latin America. It will focus on three sectors: agriculture, energy, and financial inclusion. GSI will manage the fund with support from Santa Comba and MAPFRE Group as its leading investors, while MAPFRE AM, the Group’s asset management company, will act as an investment advisor.

Qontigo has launched two new families of EU-Compliant Climate Benchmark Indices: The STOXX Paris-Aligned Benchmark (PAB) Indices and the STOXX Climate Transition Benchmark (CTB) Indices. Both track the performance of liquid securities from a selection of underlying STOXX Benchmark indices and comply with the new EU definitions for green benchmarks.  

Thematics Asset Management, an affiliate of Natixis Investment Managers, has obtained France’s SRI label for its entire range of thematic strategies, including: Thematics AI & Robotics, Thematics Safety, Thematics Subscription Economy, Thematics Water, and Thematics Meta.

A global equity fund designed to promote zero waste economies by investing in companies that are adapting their operations towards a ‘Circular Economy’, has been launched by CANDRIAM. The asset manager has also announced that 10% of the net annual management fees of the Candriam SRI Equity Circular Economy Fund will be donated to charities and organisations aligned to the circular economy. The fund will be managed by Koen Popleu, Thematic Equity Senior Fund Manager, and Monika Kumar, Thematic Equity Fund Manager.

Listed alternative asset manager Gresham House has secured £300m for its British Strategic Investment Fund (BSIF), reaching the upper limit of its final fundraising target. BSIF is a real assets portfolio investing in “sustainable” UK housing and infrastructure, such as renewables, battery storage, waste disposal, vertical farming and key worker accommodation. This new wave of investment means the strategy’s LP base now consists of six major Local Government Pension Schemes and the GLA’s London Strategic Reserve Fund.

Legal & General has said all of its new housing portfolio will be net zero carbon enabled by 2030, with the help of improved thermal building fabric and environmental control systems, including low- and zero-carbon technologies.

A first-of-its-kind high-risk philanthropic funding initiative, aimed at crowding in more than $2.5bn of private investments for clean energy projects in South East Asia, has been launched. Singapore-based Clime Capital will run the South East Asia Clean Energy Facility with an initial focus on Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. Sea Change Foundation International, Wellspring Climate Initiative, High Tide Foundation, Grantham Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Packard Foundation and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation have already committed to support the fund with combined investment of $10m. Another $40m is being sought. 

Aegon Asset Management and ABN AMRO are collaborating to develop an Impact Equity Fund by the end of the year. The fund will allow customers to invest in companies, organisations and funds with a social and environmental impact.

Morgan Stanley Investment Management has launched a Global Balanced Sustainable Fund that will include investment into impact equities and green bonds, as well as money market instruments and cash. The fund includes a corporate engagement commitment. 

INVL Baltic Sea Growth Fund, the largest private equity investment fund in the Baltic region, has completed the acquisition of a majority stake (52.81%) in Eco Baltia, the largest environmental management group for plastic recycling and waste collection in the Baltics. The deal sees the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development retain its 30.51% stake and Maris Simanovičs, Chairman of the Management board of SIA Eco Baltia grupa, retain a 16.68% stake.

PGIM Investments, formerly Prudential, has unveiled its Global Corporate ESG Bond Fund with $25m in assets under management. The fund is benchmarked against the Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Corporate Total Return Index and will invest in investment-grade and high-yield corporate bonds and quasi-sovereign bonds issued in USD, euro, yen, sterling or emerging markets currencies. 

Lazard Asset Management has launched the Lazard US Sustainable Equity Portfolio, which seeks to outperform the S&P 500 by investing in a concentrated portfolio of around 40-50 “sustainable” US-listed companies with a market capitalization greater than $1bn.