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Responsible Funds April 17: GO Investment Partners, Brown Advisory, Schroders, RobecoSAM

The round-up of the latest responsible funds news

GO Investment Partners says its $350m Japanese equity fund TMAM-GO Engagement has outperformed the market over the last three years to the end of March. According to the London-based GO, the fund – developed with Tokio Marine Asset Management (TMAM) – returned 36% per annum compared with 25% for the benchmark. The offering invests in small- and mid-cap stocks with “substantial upside potential if strategic, financial and governance issues are addressed.”

US asset manager Brown Advisory has reportedly changed the name and strategy of its $87m(€81m) sustainable US equity fund. Citywire reports that Brown Advisory American SRI Fund has been renamed Brown Advisory US Flexible Equity SRI Fund, with a shift to emphasise “bargain hunting” stock selection. David Schuster has replaced Timothy Hathaway as director of research for the fund; other managers are Kenneth Stuzin, Richard Bernstein and Christopher Berrier.

TriLinc Global Impact Fund has provided another $9.2m worth of trade finance loans to small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa, Kenya and Argentina. This brings the fund’s total financial commitments to SMEs in Africa and South America to just under $71m. Said Gloria Neuland, Chief Executive of Los Angeles-based TriLinc: “By providing capital to companies that are expanding their operations while also pursuing economic, social and environmental progress, our firm provides the potential for investors to pursue yield-oriented strategies that change the world for the better.”

Germany-based Stadtsparkasse Düsseldorf has launched a sustainable mixed fund, according to Oekom Research, the ESG research house which helps on stock selection. The fund invests in equities and bonds from issuers which meet high social and environmental standards by combining a best-in-class approach with stringent exclusion criteria, it said.

The Deutsche Invest I Clean Tech fund outperformed the MSCI World in March, according to fund documents. It said: “Especially the Chinese clean tech sector performed quite strongly, fund holdings like Xinjiang Goldwind, Wasion and Jinko Solar all went up roughly 20% in March alone. However since the fund assets are less concentrated in China compared to the WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation Index (NEX Index) the fund was not able to outperform its benchmark.” Paul Buchwitz has been manager since May 2014.

Nesta, a UK charity that runs a £25m social impact investment fund backed by Big Society Capital and the Omidyar Network, has released a paper looking at the role of impact investment in supporting people with dementia in the UK. It finds that while funding for research into dementia is increasing, there are a number of gaps in the provision of care and support that offer an opportunity for social investment.UK asset manager Schroders has launched a new catastrophe (‘cat’) bonds fund, according to a report in Citywire. The Schroder IF Flexible Cat Bond Fund will invest in cat bonds primarily from the US, Western Europe and Japan. Its manager is Daniel Ineichen.

Reports say RobecoSAM has launched an impact investing platform. It features an environmental impact monitoring tool to enable investors to quantify, communicate and optimise the environmental impacts of their listed equity and corporate bond portfolios. Link

Madeira Global, a New York-based impact investment firm, has been selected by the Wildlife Conservation Society to support it in creating an investment fund for conservation-friendly businesses. Todd Stevens, WCS executive director of global initiatives, said: “In light of rising private capital support for environmental solutions, we believe Madeira’s expertise in strategic product development for impact investments uniquely positions our partnership to further innovation in both financial services and wildlife conservation.”

Caspian Impact Investments has closed a debt financing commitment of $20m from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the US government’s development finance institution. OPIC’s commitment is supporting the growth of CII India, an impact investment fund proving loans to small businesses. Link

A new retail charity bond for a charitable housing association has been launched in the UK. It is the second such bond issued through the Retail Charity Bonds platform created by social investor Allia in association with global investment bank Canaccord Genuity. The platform enables UK charities to raise debt through the retail bond market. The bond will help Hightown Praetorian & Churches Housing Association fund provide housing to vulnerable people. The bonds will pay a fixed rate interest of 4.4% a year. Link

The PowerShares Global Water UCITS ETF from Invesco returned 15.66% in the year to the end of 2014, according o a new fund update. It aims to provide investors with investment results linked to the NASDAQ OMX Global Water Index. The benchmark returned 16.32% over the same time.

Saturna Capital Corporation has launched the Saturna Sustainable Equity Fund and the Saturna Sustainable Bond Fund, two mutual funds that will invest globally in securities of issues rated by Saturna as low risk in the areas of ESG.