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Impax bags Desjardins environmental mandate

Deal is the latest in a series of wins for the strategy

Impax Asset Management, the London-listed sustainable investment specialist, has been selected to manage the C$152m (€100m) Desjardins SocieTerra Environment (STE) Fund, previously run in-house by Desjardins’s asset management arm.

The STE Fund will now be managed according to Impax’s £1.3bn (€1.5bn) Global Opportunities (GO) strategy – an all-cap global equities strategy investing in companies that are well positioned to benefit from the transition to a more sustainable economy. The strategy has a concentrated portfolio of 35 to 45 stocks.

Impax’s GO fund – co-managed by David Winborne and Kirsteen Morrison – has returned 81.4% since inception in 2015 to the end of March 2020, comfortably beating the MSCI All Country World Index’s 48.1% over the same period.

Impax reported inflows of £6m (€6.9m) in March, boosted by the GO fund’s strong performance. Its fund management team also manages St James’s Place’s Sustainable and Responsible Equity Fund – growing fund assets by 140% in less than two years – and Danish asset manager Formuepleje’s Better World Global Opportunities fund.

Earlier this year, the team was tapped by the West Midlands Pension Fund for a £1bn (€1.15bn) mandate alongside four other managers – the largest dedicated sustainable equities allocation to-date in the UK.

David Richardson, Executive Director at Impax, said that the GO strategy was looking to add to their holdings during the current “market weakness”.

This will be the second Desjardins fund managed by Impax: the fund manager has overseen Desjardins’s SocieTerra Cleantech Fund since 2016.

The STE fund, launched in 1990, is one of Canada’s first ESG-focused mutual funds and has returned 6.4% annually since inception. 

Last month, Desjardins announced that the STE Fund would start excluding companies “actively involved” in the extraction, production or specialised transportation of oil & natural gas, as well as coal mining and coal-fired electricity generation. Sales of those securities are expected to conclude by the end of Q2.