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Responsible Funds, August 1: New sub advisor at NEI’s Ethical International Equity Fund

The round-up of responsible funds news

Canadian mutual fund group NEI Investments has named Addenda Capital, the Montreal-based firm with over C$24bn (€16.4bn) in assets, as sub advisor for its C$216.9m NEI Ethical International Equity Fund. “ESG analysis is a part of Addenda’s culture and risk management philosophy, so we are quite excited about managing an ethical fund mandate in the international equity space and working with NEI’s outstanding ESG Team,” said Addenda Senior Vice-President Michel Jalbert. PRI signatory Addenda’s responsible investment lead is Brian Minns, formerly with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Mercer. The fund is currently sub advised by William Blair & Co, according to Morningstar. Addenda’s shareholders include insurer Co-operators and venture capital group Fonds de Solidarité FTQ.

Australia’s state-owned Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has agreed with fund firm Colonial First State Global Asset Management (CFSGAM) to establish the country’s first unlisted clean energy direct infrastructure investment platform for institutional investors, dubbed the CFS Australian Clean Energy Infrastructure Fund. The CEFC will provide up to A$80m (€55.4m) as the initial cornerstone investor in the wholesale infrastructure investment platform that will invest in renewable energy, energy efficiency or low emissions technology. CFSGAM will seek to raise a further $300-$500m over the next three to five years.

ING Investment Management has stressed the importance of human capital as a driver for getting long-term risk adjusted returns for its €1.5bn Sustainable Equity strategies. Human capital – talent, training, employee satisfaction, working conditions, labour relations and diversity – is probably an organisation’s most valuable intangible asset, said Nina Hodzic, Senior ESG specialist at the firm.

Rathbone Investment Management, the fund firm with £23.9bn (€30bn) under management, has been appointed manager of the Charity Bond Support Fund, which has been set up with a £10m investment commitment from social investment body Big Society Capital. The fund will act as a backstop to appropriately price primary market issuance and build a portfolio of charity bonds. Rathbone has already backed a number of charity bonds.

Frankfurt-based asset manager First Private, which launched the renewable energy fund “Wind Infrastructure I” in June 2013, says the fund has acquired a 19MW onshore wind park in Uthlede, Germany. Financial details were not disclosed. Meanwhile, another 12.3MW wind park in the city of Flensburg that the First Private fund recently acquired has come on stream. The firm is hoping to take in a total of €200m in assets from institutional investors.CHORUS Gruppe, the Germany-based renewable investment specialist with €600m under management, has launched a fund for German institutions that will invest in wind and solar parks in Germany, France and Finland. The Luxembourg-domiciled fund was starting with €40m in seed money from three institutions, including a bank, a municipal power firm and a corporate investor. CHORUS aims to take in up to €150m in assets with the fund and plans to borrow the same amount to leverage returns. Wind parks will account for 60% of the fund, and solar parks the rest. The new fund has also made its first acquisition, a 16.1MW onshore wind park in the Hunsrück region of Germany. Financial details were not disclosed, but the firm said its fund was looking at wind and solar parks in the €10m to €35m price range. Announcement (German)

Ethinvest, the Sydney, Australia-based ethical investment specialist, has revealed strong performance for its screened portfolios. The firm, founded by Ross Knowles, founding co-president of the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia (RIAA), said its 29-stock ASX100 Screened Index Model returned 21.67% for the year ending June 30 (compared to a 17.65% return for the S&P/ASX100 accumulation index). And its 24-component ASX50 Screened Index Model returned 20.39% for the same period (S&P/ASX50: 17.29%). Link

Greencoat UK Wind PLC, the listed renewable infrastructure fund focusing on wind farms, says it anticipates “continued substantial growth” – given that it expects the secondary market for operational wind generating assets to increase to over £40bn in the medium term. That’s the combined value of projects already in operation, in construction or consented. Net Asset Value increased to £363.4m in the half-year to June.

German funds based on the Global Challenges Index (GCX), a 50-member sustainable equity index, have taken in €250m in assets from private and institutional clients, according to the Hanover bourse, which runs the index with German ESG firm Oekom. The figure is almost double the €129m that was invested in the GCX on 30 September 2013. Since then, three funds based on the index have been launched. Sandra Reich, Chief Executive of the Hanover bourse, said the greater investor interest in the GGX was due both to its performance and the transparent process by which the index’s 50 members are selected or ejected. Link