Responsible Funds, August 16: Jupiter green trust returns to solar sector

The round-up of responsible funds news

The Jupiter Green Investment Trust, the London-listed vehicle which invests in companies providing environmental solutions, has returned to investing in the solar sector via a new holding in German polysilicon producer Wacker Chemie. The move marks “our first investment in the solar sector for many years,” said Charlie Thomas, manager of the £38.6m (€45.2m) trust. For the three months to the end of June, the trust returned 0.6%, compared to a return of -0.4% for its MSCI World Small Cap Index benchmark. During the same period, the FTSE ET100 Index returned 5.6%. Link

South Africa’s Mergence Investment Managers’ High Impact Debt Fund has been rated by the Global Impact Investing Rating System (GIIRS). The fund was formed in 2010 to provide institutional investors with capital growth while promoting environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria. Fund manager Mark van Wyk said: “Impact investing provides an answer to the new Code of Responsible Investing in South Africa (CRISA) and changes to Regulation 28 of the Pension Funds Act which have increased awareness of incorporating ESG factors into fund managers’ investment processes.” Mergence was founded in 2004 and has a family of funds including a Low Carbon Equity Fund and an SRI Fund. Announcement

Swiss investment advisor SUSI Partners AG has teamed up with the asset management arm of German private bank Hauck & Aufhäuser (H&A AM) to have the latter distribute its new Energy Efficiency Fund (EEF) to institutional clients in Germany and Austria. The €300m Luxembourg SICAV invests in the green renovation of buildings and other infrastructure like streetlights. According to H&A AM, EEF should deliver annual returns of between and 5% and 6% after cost and inflation.

US Islamic finance group Azzad Asset Management has added Kayne Anderson Rudnick Investment Management to its roster of managers of the Azzad Ethical Wrap Program. The boutique will manage the small-cap growth strategy in the program. Other managers on the roster include Ziegler Lotsoff, SKBA Capital Management, Trillium Asset Management, Pekin Singer Strauss, Tributary Capital Management and Scout Investments. Link*Alliance Trust Investments’ transfer of the Sustainable* Future investment team, headed by Peter Michaelis, and fund range from Aviva Investors is now complete. From July 26, the Sustainable Future Pan-European Equity Fund has moved from the Aviva Investors SICAV and has merged with Luxcellence to become the Luxcellence – Alliance Trust Sustainable Future Pan-European Equity Fund, a sub-fund of the Luxcellence SICAV. Alliance Trust now has an SRI portfolio of one SICAV and seven OEICs totalling £1.37bn (€1.58bn). Over a three-year period the fund has outperformed its benchmark by 5.85%, with cumulative performance of 43.82%.

Armstrong Asset Management’s South-East Asia Clean Energy Fund is committing up to US$30m to finance an initial pipeline of solar photovoltaic (PV) and biogas power projects developed by Annex Power in Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia. Singapore-based Armstrong added that it is on track to achieve a final closing of US$150m for the fund in September this year following an initial close in April 2012. Investors include private corporations, European development finance institutions (DFIs) such as the Luxembourg-based Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund (GEEREF) and DEG, as well as the International Finance Corporation.

The Irish government is seeking a private-sector partner to operate a €70m energy efficiency fund launched earlier this year by Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte, according to the Irish Times. The fund would invest in energy efficiency projects, creating up to 675 jobs, direct and indirect, for every €10m invested. It’s hoped the fund will be up and running by the end of the year.

Janalakshmi, a Bangalore, India-based microfinance institution promoted by social entrepreneur Ramesh Ramanathan, has raised INR3.5bn (€42.5m), according to industry site Microfinance Gateway. In addition there was an exit for early investors including the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. It’s believed to be the largest transaction in Indian microfinance since the Andhra Pradesh crisis in 2010. Janalakshmi (“People’s Wealth”) focuses on urban Indian microfinance.