Responsible Funds, August 22: Swiss Life infrastructure fund in UK wind farm deal

The round-up of responsible funds news

Swiss Life Funds (Luxembourg) Global Infrastructure Opportunities, a fund managed by Swiss Life Asset Managers, is co-investing in four UK wind farms with Greencoat UK Wind, the green infrastructure fund. Swiss Life is taking 48.4% with Greencoat taking the remainder; the acquisitions will be made through a joint holding company. Greencoat said the deal comprises the Sixpenny Wood, Yelvertoft, North Rhins and Drone Hill Wind Farms from subsidiaries of the AES Corporation – for a total £90.6m (€113m). The purchases take Greencoat’s net generating capacity to 271.5MW.

US-based timber investment specialist Timbervest LLC, which has $1.2bn (€904m) under management, violated the Investment Advisers Act according to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), in a ruling this week. In a 73-page judgment, the SEC said company executives should “cease and desist from further violations” of the act – and pay $1.9m in disgorgement payments plus prejudgment interest. Pensions & Investment quoted a lawyer for Atlanta-based Timbervest as saying the firm disagrees with the conclusions and plans to appeal. Timbervest CEO Joel Shapiro said the “allegations against us are few and frivolous” and that its business is “solid and growing”.

Aviva Investors Canada has been replaced as portfolio adviser of the C$276m (€190m) Férique American Fund, offered by Canada’s Gestion Férique, the not-for-profit mutual fund firm for engineers, by River Road Asset Management. River Road had been Aviva’s sub-adviser. Link

The $312m iShares Global Water UCITS exchange traded fund (ETF) has returned 18.35% in the year to the end of July. The Irish domiciled product is benchmarked against the S&P Global Water Index and its largest holdings are United Utilities, Geberit, Pentair, American Water Works and Severn Trent.

A new study by a consumer protection agency in Bremen claims that only one out of 46 stock and bond funds marketed in Germany as “ethical” truly deserves the label: the €391m Ökoworld Ökovision Classic. According to the study, it is the only product that avoided weapons, nuclear power, genetic engineering and oil. The study also said 39 equity and corporate bonds funds in the sample did not exclude fossil fuels – and 10 couldn’t guarantee exclusion of military hardware, while five did not reject investments in firms that relied on child labour.SUSI Partners, the Zurich-based asset manager, has launched another renewable energy fund targeted to institutional clients. In a statement, SUSI said the fund, called “SUSI Renewable Energy Fund II,” will invest in renewable projects like wind and solar across Europe and offers a ten-year investment timeframe. The target return is 6-7% per annum after costs. SUSI also said the fund raising for its latest product would begin now and end in mid-2015. During that period, the Swiss manager hopes to take in between €300m and €400m from institutional clients.

The DWS Invest Clean Tech fund – managed since May by Paul Buchwitz – has returned 5.4% in the year to the end of July. The benchmark, the WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation, has returned 23.8% in the same period. The largest holdings are Acuity Brands, Enel Green Power, AO Smith, Johnson Controls and SolarCity.

The $171m UBS Global Sustainable offering, which invests in ‘sustainability champions’, has retuned 13.11% in the seven months to the end of last month. The reference index is the MSCI World, which has returned 13.49% in the same period. The largest equity positions include Apple, US Bancorp, Norfolk Southern and Macy’s.

Charities in the UK made an average investment return of 10.4% over the year to the end of June – according to the WM Charity Fund Monitor from banking giant State Street cited by The three-year annualised return came in at 7.9%. The survey is based on 230 portfolios worth a combined £8.5bn (€10.6bn).

The €177.5m Deka UmweltInvest alternative energy and environmental equity fund from Germany’s Deka Institutionell has returned 3.19% in the year to the end of July, according to a fund factsheet. The fund, managed by Michael Schneider, is benchmarked against the 100% Deka-Umwelt Total Return Index which returned 4.21% over the same period.

The Triodos Renewables Europe Fund has made a follow-on investment in Silvius Sun, a project company owned by Solar Access, a Dutch-based operator with 20 roof-mounted solar projects in Belgium. It means Silvius has become a joint venture of Triodos Renewables Europe Fund and Solar Access. Announcement