Mirova to launch green bond fund, makes first close at €80m on new renewable infrastructure fund

September launch for fund that will mix green bonds and environmentally-backed corporate issues.

Mirova, the Paris-based responsible investment manager, is to launch a green bond fund in September, joining a small but growing number of asset managers with dedicated funds in the rapidly expanding sector.
Separately, the manager has also made an initial first close at €80m on a new renewable energy infrastructure fund, the Mirova Eurofideme 3, which was launched just last month and is targeting €200m.
Speaking to Responsible Investor, Philippe Zaouati, Chief Executive Officer at Mirova, which is a member of the Green Bonds Principles, a 50-strong group of banks and institutional investors, said the new fund would be a mix of pure green bonds and other corporate bonds where there is a high threshold of dedicated environmental products in the business. He said it was difficult to put together a portfolio based solely on green bonds at present. He said Mirova had already been buying into green bond issuances as part of its fixed income investments. In June this year, Mirova hired Christopher Wigley as a specialist fixed income portfolio manager based in Paris, giving the manager a three-strong team of fixed income specialists. Wigley spent the previous two years working as a consultant contributing ideas for the UK’s Green Investment Bank and to the development of green bonds.
Prior to that he was a Senior Fund Manager at Epworth Investment Management in London.
Zaouati himself is part of a high-level finance industry working group charged by the French government to look at the development of the green bonds market, among other issues, ahead of next year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris. The Mirova launch joins existing green bond funds at Calvert Investments in the US and Nikko Asset Management in London.
Zaouati says the €80m first close on the new infrastructure fund, which was launched in June, reflects “significant demand” for the asset class from large, long-term institutional investors. He said one of Mirova’s priorities was to build its infrastructure business to a critical size, up from €428m to over €1bn. Zaouati said Mirova had been recruiting for the infrastructure build and would continue to hire based on the accumulation of assets. He said one area that needs to be worked on is the ‘sustainability’ component of infrastructure deals. Mirova has joined a group with a number of French banks, including parent Natixis, and corporates including Bouygues, the French construction giant, to work on this.