Responsible Funds, August 17: US SIF issues Money Manager Roadmap guide

The latest responsible funds developments

The US SIF Foundation has released a guide for asset managers on how to incorporate sustainable, responsible and impact investing at their firms. Designed with input from leading portfolio managers at US SIF member firms, The Money Manager Roadmap is a step-by-step guide for managers who want to develop sustainable investment programs and products.

The 4th annual New Zealand Responsible Investment Benchmark Report 2018 shows the industry hitting new heights with NZ$183.4bn (€106bn) now managed as responsible investments, up from NZ$131.3bn in 2016 and NZ$79bn in 2015. It found the “vast majority of professionally managed investments are now invested as responsible investments”.

Norway’s KLP has launched the country’s first Nordic Swan certified fund, investing in companies that have a good corporate social responsibility record. The Nordic Swan is the official ecolabel of the Nordic countries; it was established in 1989 by the Nordic Council of Ministers. KLP says on its website that the fund has “even more stringent exclusion criteria than other KLP funds with regard to fossil fuel and weapons”. It added that in June it became an owner in both Swedish wind power (Stena Renewable AB) and a Swedish forestry fund (Silvestica Green Forest AB). And it has invested NOK75m in SINTEF’s Venture V, which will focus investments on small start-up companies arising from the research and development community in Trondheim

The SUSI Energy Storage Fund has reached final close, overachieving its goal of €250m. The fund, which finances solutions aimed at stabilising renewable energy supply, has already made two investments and is pursuing four further deals. The news comes as SUSI “announced”:ttps:// a new investment strategy targeting sustainable energy infrastructure developments, both established and emerging. Looking ahead to the Energy Transition, the Swiss asset manager has identified financing opportunities including electric car charging infrastructure and energy efficiency technology.Swisscanto has launched a sustainable global credit fund, including high-yield corporate bonds. The Luxemburg-domiciled fund will buy bonds which meet its existing sustainability criteria. Swisscanto says it is suitable for investors with long-term investment horizons, who “are prepared to accept large price fluctuations”. The flat-rate annual management fee is 0.85%. Link

TriLinc Global Impact Fund, a fund investing in developing country SMEs, has approved an additional $2.3m (€2m) in financing to companies operating in Emerging Europe and Latin America. This brings its investments for business expansion and socioeconomic development to $416.6m (€366m) , through holdings in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Emerging Europe.

Phaunos Timber Fund has officially rejected an acquisition offer from Stafford Capital Partners, in the latest stage of long-running negotiations. In a letter to its shareholders, Phaunos Chairman Richard Boléat described “an unsolicited cash offer”, made by Stafford last month, which he claimed was “inadequate and not in the best interests of Shareholders”. See the letter here. Stafford retorted yesterday in a statement that reiterated its belief that the offer “represents an excellent opportunity for shareholders to realise their investment in Phaunos”.

The Nanuk New World Fund, an equity fund investing in companies involved in environmental sustainability, returned 2.8% in July, outperforming traditional global equities indices such as the MSCI All Country World Index by 0.4%. Read the full report here.

Non-profit asset manager Impact Shares is working with the US National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People to launch a Minority Empowerment Exchange-Traded Fund. The fund began trading on the New York Stock Exchange last week.