Responsible Funds, Dec. 21: Matt Damon’s in impact fund move

The latest responsible funds developments, the nonprofit formed from the 2009 merger of film star Matt Damon’s H2O Africa and Gary White’s WaterPartners, has reportedly closed on $33m in a new impact investing fund called WaterEquity, focused on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)-related investments. The fund, which hopes will reach $50m, will operate in India, Indonesia, Cambodia and the Philippines. It follows the completion of an $11m impact investing pilot project, which helped 320,000 people in India access water or sanitation. White told Forbes the programme has shown a 99% repayment rate.

US private equity giant Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) has announced it has invested around $30m in Barghest Building Performance, the Singapore-based provider of energy savings solutions for commercial and industrial buildings. The investment forms part of KKR’s “Impact strategy”.

The ABN Amro pension fund in the Netherlands has reportedly launched a search for an asset manager to run a €500m-€600m corporate bond mandate for investment-grade “enhanced passive” credit within ESG-aware guidelines. The deadline is January 10.

Vietnamese bank Nam A Bank has teamed up with the responsAbility-managed climate fund to launch the bank’s green lending activities in the country.

MP Pension, the scheme for academics in Denmark, has excluded Saudi Arabia and 13 other countries from its investment universe in order to “redouble [its] efforts to promote respect for human rights”, media reports say.

Australian fund firm Ausbil Investment Management has launched an active Sustainable Equity Fund that will target up to 45 companies from the S&P/ ASX 200 Index, according to the Sustainability Report. Ausbil is owned by staff and New York Life Investment Management, part of New York Life Insurance Company.

The Kames Global Sustainable Equity Fund dropped both Tencent and Facebook in recent months, its portfolio managers have revealed. The fund, which returned 3.2% over the third quarter of 2018, compared with benchmark performance of 5.7%, pointed out that social network stocks had had a bumpy period and holdings in the two firms “fell into this bracket”, prompting an exit.

The People’s Pension, a UK defined contribution pension scheme, has allocated an undisclosed sum to State Street’s ACS Multi-Factor Global ESG Equity Index Fund, in a bid to reduce ESG risk – particularly on fossil-fuels. The fund “targets five well-established equity factors, improved ESG scores and a reduction in carbon emissions and reserves intensity”, according to a statement.

The city of Madrid plans to inject €30m into social impact investment funds through a public tender in January 2019. Only funds domiciled in Spain and registered with the securities regulator (Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores – CNMV) will be allowed to tender. In addition, the funds should benefit projects and social enterprises located in Madrid, or elsewhere as long as they create a positive impact on the city.

JP Morgan Asset Management has a new fund called the JPMorgan Funds – Global Sustainable Equity Fund, managed Sandeep Bhargava, Joanna Crompton and Richard Webb.Australian infrastructure fund manager Infrastructure Capital Group (ICG) has raised over A$150m (€93m) for its newly launched Australian Renewables Income Fund (ARIF), including a record investment from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC). It added it would continue to raise additional capital for ARIF from domestic and international investors during the course of 2019.

A survey of 79 UK public pension funds has revealed that many are disappointed with the ESG approach of their asset managers. It was reported that less than one in 10 funds awarded their manager a full score, with nearly one third said that engaging with managers on the topic was difficult. The survey was carried out by the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF).

J. Safra Sarasin Asset Management has reportedly launched a sustainable equity fund multiple-factor exposure including value, momentum, quality and low volatility, driven by the business cycle. Matilde Franscini will manage the strategy.

Nuveen has added two active fixed-income funds to its suite of responsible investing funds. The TIAACREF Green Bond Fund (TGROX) will invest in labeled and unlabeled green fixed income securities and is benchmarked against the Bloomberg Barclays MSCI U.S. Green Bond Index, while the TIAACREF Short Duration Impact Bond Fund (TSDBX) will invest in securities with environmental and social impact and an average maturity of three and a half years. Announcement

The European Investment Bank is considering a contribution of €5m to a fund which invests in companies providing climate change adaptation and climate-resilience solutions in developing countries. The Climate Resilience Solutions Fund is managed by Lightsmith Resilience Partners and is domiciled in Luxembourg.

PGIM Investments – the $1trn asset management arm of Prudential – has added an active ESG equity strategy to its now 28-strong UCITs platform. The PGIM QMA Global Core Equity ESG Fund will evaluate “the ESG status of every security in the global core equity universe”, aiming to avoid the worst performers while “maintaining performance expectations”.

LIMEYARD, Equarius Risk Analytics and Thomas Schumann Capital have launched what is claimed to be the world’s first water risk to equities benchmark index. The LIMEYARD TSC Water Risk (Ticker Symbol: LYU5WRUG) is designed to price water risk for investors.

FTSE Russell has launched new green real estate indexes to allow integration of climate risk into listed real estate. The FTSE EPRA Nareit Green Indexes apply tilts to the underlying FTSE EPRA Nareit Developed Index to improve climate and sustainability performance.

Growth markets investor Actis has acquired a majority stake in what will be Kenya’s second largest wind power project, bringing it to final close. The 100MW Kipeto wind power project is now funded by equity from Actis (88%) and Kenyan company Craftskills Wind Energy International (12%) alongside senior debt from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the US development finance institution.