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Friday Funds: Regnan, Downing, 7IM, Close Brothers, Franklin Templeton, Generali Investment

The latest developments in ESG-related funds

Regnan, the Australia-based former ESG research house turned responsible investment firm, has launched its first UK fund with its affiliate J O Hambro Capital Management. They are both part of the listed fund manager Pendal. The Regnan Global Equity Impact Solutions Fund will invest in companies providing sustainability solutions, using the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals as investment lens. See RI coverage here.

Asset manager Downing is set to launch an initial public offering of its Downing Renewables & Infrastructure Trust (DORE); it is seeking to raise up to £200m to allocate to renewable energy and other infrastructure assets in the UK, Ireland, and Northern Europe. Downing has said it has already secured a cornerstone investment of £30m to allocate to the trust from existing clients; it is expecting to list DORE on the London Stock Exchange in December.

Seven Investment Management (7IM), the UK firm, has reduced the annual management charge for its Sustainable Balance fund from 1.00% to 0.75%; it hopes to broaden the appeal of its proposition for investors interested in responsible investments. The fund, launched in 2007, over the past 5 years has delivered a return of 39% compared to the 25% returned from its IA comparative benchmark. 

Only 8% of pension funds in Switzerland align their goals with the Paris Agreement; conversely, the majority either do not take climate risks into account in the investment process and continue to invest heavily in fossil fuels, or are only at the beginning of the necessary path to decarbonisation, according to The Climate Alliance. In the civil society organisation’s rating of 110 pension institutions, big players were put in the least proactive group, including UBS and Credit Suisse.

Close Brothers Asset Management is launching two sustainable funds. The Close Sustainable Balanced Portfolio Fund aims to provide capital growth with some income over the medium term by investing in shares, bonds, alternatives, ETFs, and third party funds; whilst the Close Sustainable Bond Portfolio Fund, previously the Close Bond Income Portfolio Fund, aims to generate income while maintaining its capital value over the medium term and will invest in bonds, third party funds, and other fixed income securities.

Franklin Templeton has announced the acquisition of five new assets in the healthcare, education, and housing sectors in the UK and Italy for its diversified Franklin Templeton Social Infrastructure Fund. Overall, the Fund has acquired a total of 17 assets, for a total value in excess of €355m, since its launch in July 2018.

Generali Investments has transformed its GIS Global Equity into the Generali Investments Sicav Sustainable World Equity; this means the fund will now incorporate ESG criteria, including excluding companies involved in controversial activities and scouting out those best-in-class, as part of its investment process.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has already secured $8m in risk-tolerance financing from Global Environment Facility for a new private sector-focused nature conservation accelerator fund. The Nature+ Accelerator Fund, which will be managed by Mirova, aims to raise further investment to create a $200m portfolio of projects.

Globalance Bank, the Swiss bank founder by RobecoSAM founder Reto Ringger, is launching Globalance World, which will provide investors with the information regarding the warming potential of their portfolio, which countries their portfolio has a positive or negative footprint, and whether their portfolio is invested in the relevant megatrends.

RAFI Indices, index company of Research Affiliates, has launched its RAFI Multi-Factor Climate Transition index strategy; the product offers diversified exposures to the value, low volatility, quality, and momentum factors, while integrating objectives related to greenhouse gas emissions reductions and a transition to a low-carbon economy. 

Bank J. Safra Sarasin has launched the JSS Sustainable Equity – SDG Opportunities fund, which will invest in companies with strong sustainability practices and that create solutions that contribute to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.