Responsible Funds, Aug. 23: Norway’s KLP now completely out of coal, alcohol and gambling

The latest responsible funds news

KLP, the NOK737bn (€74bn) Norwegian pension mutual, says it is now “completely” out of coal, alcohol and gambling. In May, KLP decided to withdraw from companies that produce alcohol and are involved in betting, covering some 90 companies in total. It withdrew further from coal companies by lowering the threshold for income from coal activities from 30% to 5%, while also increasing investments in new production capacity in renewable energy by a further NOK870m. “It’s important to show our customers that we manage their money in a way that contributes to us, through joint effort, to mitigate destructive climate change for all of us,” said CEO Sverre Thornes.

M&G Investments, the UK asset manager with £321.2bn (€354.9bn) under management, has launched an emerging markets ESG bond fund. The Luxembourg-domiciled SICAV is called M&G (Lux) Emerging Markets Corporate ESG Bond Fund. It will be managed by Charles de Quinsonas, supported by Head of Emerging Market Debt Claudia Calich.

Switzerland-headquartered private asset manager Capital Dynamics is to acquire 100% equity in a wind portfolio in Northern Ireland from Brookfield Renewable Partners. The investment in the 86MW portfolio will be made through Capital Dynamics’ European Clean Energy Infrastructure business and is incentivised under a government support mechanism to encourage increased renewable electricity generation. Capital Dynamics runs more than $16bn on behalf of pension funds and other investors.

Swedish asset manager Coeli, which runs SEK20bn (€1.8bn) has launched a market neutral equity fund focusing on the energy transition, which its managers say will have a negative carbon footprint and take advantage of the shortening market cycle for oil. The Coeli Energy Transition will invest in companies driving the renewable energy transition. It will be managed by Vidar Kalvoy and Joel Etzler, who previously worked together at London-based hedge fund Horizon Asset.

US asset manager TCW has reportedly launched an ESG-focused thematic fund in Italy for equities in developed markets. The TCW Funds – TCW Global Premier ESG Equities Fund applies an ESG screening to identify a universe of around 200 stocks leading in their sectors on ESG performance and disclosure. Managed by Joseph Shaposhnik, who manages a similar investment strategy in the US, the portfolio is formed by 20 to 30 stocks.Impact consultancy Palladium has launched its first impact investment fund, which aims to bridge the financing gap for small businesses in sub-Saharan Africa. Anchored by a $5m investment of Palladium’s own capital, the Palladium Impact Fund I is looking to raise $40m to make debt and mezzanine investments of between $250,000 and $2m into high-potential SMEs. Investments will focus on agribusiness and off-grid clean energy in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya, with investors expected to include foundations, family offices, pension funds, and institutional investors. It aims to improve the lives of at least 500,000 households and create more than 3,500 jobs, of which at least 60% are for women; first close is set for the fourth quarter of this year.

The Dutch government is considering borrowing up to €50bn to pour into a new infrastructure and education investment fund, according to reports, as it looks to take advantage of historically low and even negative interest rates. Final plans for the fund are likely to be revealed on September 17 in the government’s 2020 budget.

An NN Investment Partners (NNIP) assessment has revealed that “stringent” ESG criteria are integrated into two thirds (€176bn) of its assets, the investment arm of NN Group has announced. NNIP said it had strengthened its RI framework to “include a stringent definition of ESG integration … where each investment analysis is required to integrate all three and for this to be demonstrable and documented in a consistent way. Examples of NN IP investment strategies in which ESG is not yet fully embedded include asset-backed securities, derivative portfolios and some multi-asset strategies, “mainly due to the nature of the asset class or portfolio construction”.

Triodos Investment Management, the Dutch-based sustainability specialist, says its assets under management have grown to €4.6bn. It said the strongest contributions to growth came from the Climate funds and the Impact Equities & Bonds strategy.

Shares in Woodford Capital Patient Trust, the listed fund run by former star fund manager Neil Woodford that aims to take a “long-term ‘patient capital’ approach” have hit a new low on Friday after the trust’s administrator said it would cut the valuation of one of its biggest holdings that is linked to cold fusion. Link Fund Solutions said it would cut the valuation of the trust’s stake in IH Holdings, a unit of cold fusion technology firm Industrial Heat. Woodford Investment Management was also hit after transport firm Eddie Stobart announced the departure of CEO and suspended its shares from trading amid accounting issues.