Responsible Funds, April 19: Pension funds back new Resonance wind, solar fund

The round-up of responsible funds news

Resonance Asset Management, the new boutique focusing on onshore wind and utility scale solar photovoltaic investments, has announced a first close at £35m of its Resonance British Wind Energy Income Ltd. fund. The fund aims to consolidate the small and medium sized operating wind farm industry in the UK for institutional investors. Resonance, founded last year by the former CEO of Man Environmental Capital Opportunities, Nick Wood, said initial commitments were raised from pension funds, insurance companies and family offices.

Impax Asian Environmental Markets plc, the £218m (€255.6m) London-listed Asia-Pacific clean energy fund, says it has completed a shareholder consultation process over the future of the company. It expects to make a further announcement in early May. It follows an announcement in March that shareholders representing “in aggregate almost half” of its shares were potential sellers of their stakes. The fund, managed by Bruce Jenkyn-Jones, David Li and Kirsteen Morrison, was launched in 2009 and has retuned 15.9% in the year to the end of March.

Germany: the Sustainable Business Institute (SBI) reports that at the end of 2012, there were 384 sustainable retail funds in the German-speaking lands with a volume of €35.1bn. This compares with 357 funds and €30bn a year before. This includes 203 sustainable stock funds (€21bn), 59 bond funds (€7bn) and 78 balanced funds (€5.3bn). There were also 24 sustainable exchange-traded funds (€615m), 15 fund-of-funds (€500m) as well as five microfinance funds (€670).

Over the past 12 months, the Jupiter Climate Change Solutions fund has returned 12%, compared with 15.8% for its benchmark, the FTSE World Index. Over three years, the fund has returned 20.2% against a 34.6% rise for the benchmark.India: Caspian Advisors Private Ltd. has launched Caspian Impact Investments with $10m (€7.6M) committed investments from Dutch development body the FMO, Triodos Doen and Hivos-Triodos Fund, Gray Ghost Microfinance Fund, promoters Caspian, and local Indian investors. The targeted fund size is $40m. The vehicle will provide debt capital to a wide range of institutions serving low income or financially excluded communities. Home page

The €6m Dexia Equities L Sustainable Green Planet, an SRI subfund of the Dexia Equities L sicav, returned 6.39% in 2012 – outperforming its benchmark the Ardour Global Composite by 8.70%. The fund invests worldwide in companies that tackle three major environmental challenges: waste management, water use and energy resources.

The €26m Vontobel Asset Management Clean Technology A EUR fund returned 15.8% last year – against a 14.0% gain for its benchmark, the MSCI World Index TR net EUR. The fund, managed by Pascal Dudle, invests in companies which provide technologies and solutions to both mitigate climate change and reduce air and water pollution.

Australian Ethical, the boutique fund manager, says its A$183.0m (€144.6M) Larger Companies Trust outperformed its melded benchmark index in March (+0.6% after fees v 0.0%), driven by outperformance of both the domestic and international equities portfolios. Its international equities portfolio (themed around Global Smart Energy) rose 2.4%, outperforming its benchmark, the MSCI Global Climate Index (AUD) Index which rose 0.9%. Link

Environmental, social and governance research firm Sustainalytics has reported that the Jantzi Social Index decreased in value by 0.77% during March. During the same period, the S&P/TSX Composite Index decreased by 0.19% and the S&P/TSX 60 Index was down 0.61%. Since inception in 2000, the JSI has achieved an annualized return of 5.66%.