Responsible Funds, April 1: Rathbone, Natixis, Solactive, CHORUS, Korea Teachers, BayWa

The round-up of the latest responsible funds news

Rathbone Unit Trust Management, part of the UK’s Rathbones Brothers Plc investment firm, has confirmed plans to launch four offshore funds, offering Europe-based investors access to its UK funds for the first time. Domiciled in Luxembourg, the proposed funds will invest via a master-feeder structure into the Rathbone Ethical Bond Fund, managed by Head of Fixed Income, Bryn Jones and assistant manager Noelle Cazalis. They will also have access to its Multi-Asset Total Return, Multi-Asset Strategic Growth, and Multi-Asset Enhanced Growth Portfolios.

Natixis Global Asset Management has launched a new sustainable equity fund that will comprise 50 companies with “admirable” ESG (environmental, social and governance) practices. The fund will be managed by Suzanne Senellart and Hua Cheng from its US unit with support from Mirova, its Paris-based responsible investment arm. “The Mirova Global Sustainable Equity Fund will find companies with admirable ESG practices that are also looking for answers to the biggest social and environmental threats of our time,” said Jens Peers, CIO of Sustainable Equities at Mirova.

Aberdeen Asset Management plans to launch a new sustainability framework intended to stimulate efficiency refurbishments and new developments in the UK. Clean Energy News reports that the new framework will be for part of the asset manager’s Responsible Property Investment strategy for its £19.3bn property portfolio. The programme will initially be launched in the UK before comparable versions are rolled out across Europe.

Germany-based index firm Solactive has launched an index covering global family owned companies, which it says “focuses on the positive effects of certain ownership structures on the long-term development of a company”. The index would be used as an underlying instrument for listed tracker certificates by UBS. Barclays also plans to use the index in products, it added.

The Charities Aid Foundation Retail Charity Bond has raised £20m in one week. The offer saw strong demand from both institutional and retail investors and closed over-subscribed. The bond is the third to be issued through the Retail Charity Bonds platform, created by UK-based social investor consultancy Allia to enable charities to raise loan finance from mainstream investors through bonds listed on London Stock Exchange. The platform has now raised a total of £68m for CAF and its associates. The CAF Bond will pay investors 5% a year over 10 years.The Korea Teachers’ Pension Fund has outsourced its onshore socially responsible mandate to Hanwha Asset Management and Hyundai Investments, reports Asia Asset Management. It has also outsourced its domestic dividend-type mandate to Hanwha and Hi Asset Management and chosen LS Asset Management, Daishin Asset Management and Mirae Asset Management to oversee its index-type domestic mandate.

German project developer BayWa says it is in talks with institutional investors about the sale of six solar parks developed in the UK over the last six months. The parks are located in southern England and Wales and have a combined capacity of 130MW. BayWa would continue as the operator of the parks after the sale. Including these latest installations, Munich-based BayWa has developed a total of 390MW of wind and solar capacity in the UK to date.

CHORUS Clean Energy, the listed German renewables investor, has reported increases in sales and operating profit (as measured by EBITDA) for 2015, with the former rising by 6.5% to €58.6m and the latter by 5.2% to €45.7m. In its latest business report, CHORUS also said net profit more than doubled, rising to €11m in 2015 from €4.9m in 2014. CHORUS listed on Frankfurt’s stock exchange last October, raising €119m.

Staying with CHORUS, the firm has acquired two 18MW wind parks in Germany, bringing the total capacity of its wind and solar portfolio to more than 325MW. The purchase price for the parks, in Hesse and Rhineland-Palatine, totalled €40m and was financed in large part by the IPO proceeds.

Two California Democratic congressmen have reportedly called on the California Public Employees Retirement System to divest from ExxonMobil over the oil giant’s handling of climate change. Reuters reported that Congressmen Ted Lieu and Mark DeSaulnier wrote to CalPERS’ Chief Executive Anne Stausboll, saying it is “morally suspect” for the fund to invest in the company. The report said CalPERS was not immediately available for comment.

Living Cities, a collaboration of 22 foundations and financial institutions, has launched a $31m impact investing debt fund to look at new ways of solving urban issues. The Blended Catalyst Fund offering would provide loans, lines of credit and equity investments to for-profit and non-profit organizations and local governments. It would support social issues like economic development, income equality, small business development, and homelessness. Investor commitments to the fund were expected to increase to $40m at close.