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Responsible Funds, August 3: Calvert eyes manager of managers structure for emerging markets fund

The latest responsible funds news

Calvert Research and Management (CRM), the SRI arm of Eaton Vance, is seeking approval to make its $1.1bn Calvert Emerging Markets Equity Fund into a manager of managers structure, according to a filing with the SEC. It would allow CRM and the fund to “enter into and materially amend investment sub-advisory agreements with unaffiliated sub-advisers and certain affiliated sub-advisers without obtaining shareholder approval”. Approval is also being sought to enter a new sub-advisory agreement with incumbent sub-advisor Hermes Investment Management following its acquisition by Federated Investors. CRM paid Hermes $634,670 in fees in the nine months to end-September 2017. The two matters will go to a shareholders vote on October 5.

The Netherlands’ PGGM has boosted its renewables investment with the acquisition of 50% of a 332MW portfolio. EDF Renewables North America announced the signing of two Purchase and Sale Agreements (PSA) by which PGGM Infrastructure Fund will acquire a 50% ownership interest in the following projects: Glacier’s Edge Wind and Valentine Solar. Completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval and customary conditions precedent. It follows an earlier agreement between the two companies concerning three projects for 588MW. The agreement “is part of PGGM’s fast-growing portfolio of investments in climate solutions for PFZW, the pension fund for Dutch healthcare workers”.

Brunel Pension Partnership, one of the new UK pension pool operators, has signed a contract to make “extensive use” of MSCI equity benchmarks for £10bn of equities. MSCI benchmarks are in the specification of six out of the seven portfolios (sub funds) in the ACS Brunel are currently developing for an estimated £7.5bn of actively managed equities.

BlackRock Real Assets has financed UK social housing firm GreenSquare to the tune of £75m. GreenSquare issued a fully-amortizing fixed-rate 20-year note, secured against its social housing stock. The transaction will be used to build more housing, BlackRock said. The deal was made through BlackRock’s European Infrastructure Debt Team, whose Head, Jonathan Stevens, said it “seeks to achieve [our clients’] ESG objectives”.

Oddo BHF Asset Management has reportedly begun to integrate ESG criteria into specific bond portfolios, building on the responsible investment it has incorporated into its equity strategies. The Oddo BHF Euro Corporate Bond fund is the first of the firm’s fixed income funds to include an ESG approach. Some 12% of the Franco-German group’s total assets are managed following ESG criteria.

Cazenove Charities has launched the Cazenove Charity Responsible Multi-Asset Fund. Managed by Cazenove’s charity team, the fund is designed for charity investors – aligning screening with common charity concerns and integrating ESG factors. The fund aims to return inflation plus 4% over the long term and will invest in a broad mix of growth and sustainability-focused assets*Christian Super* has become the latest super fund to sign up to Australian Council of Superannuation Investors’ (ACSI) new Asset Owner Stewardship Code, joining AustralianSuper, Hesta and VicSuper. “We’re seeing a number of asset owners who don’t want to wait until next year to begin providing more information about their stewardship activities,” said ACSI CEO Louise Davidson.

A task force of Latin American impact investment leaders will look into a “fund of funds” model to support social and environmental impact investment in the region, according to an announcement from the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG). According to estimates, 40% of Latin Americans live in vulnerable conditions, with 20% lacking access to basic healthcare and more than 80m without sufficient water supply and sanitation. The Latin America Impact Fund of Funds (LIFF) Task Force will explore the viability of a $1bn fund of funds to address these issues in 20 countries across Central and South America.

BlackRock Real Assets has acquired the entire equity interest in a 28-project solar portfolio in Taiwan, marking the team’s first renewables investment in the country. The portfolio has a power purchase agreement in place with “an investment-grade off-taker” for 20 years, with its project expected to be fully operational in 2019. The firm agreed to acquire the entire equity interest in the 59MWac / 70MWdc solar portfolio from Taipei-based solar energy producer J&V Energy Technology Co (J&V Energy), through a private fund managed by BlackRock Real Assets. Link

Renewables yieldco, Greencoat UK Wind, has announced a net asset value of June 30 of £1.289.9m (114.1p per share), in its latest half-year results. The group, which invests in UK wind farms, also announced a quarterly dividend of 1.69p per share, resulting in a six-monthly dividend of 3.38p per share over the period.

Sustainability specialist Impax Asset Management has replaced Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) as the manager of St James Places’ ethical fund. The newly rebranded Sustainable and Responsible Equity fund (formerly the St James’s Place Ethical fund) will invest its £286m in assets into Impax’s Global Opportunities strategy, which integrates ESG considerations as both a source of growth and a risk factor its investment process. Previously run by SLA global equity manager Jamie Cumming, the fund will now be co-managed by Impax’s Kirsteen Morrison and David Winborne. Link

UK-based fixed income house Cameron Hume is to launch a global ESG bond fund called the Cameron Hume Global Fixed Income ESG Fund, benchmarked against the Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Index. It will be run by a team including ex-Ignis and Old Mutual Global Investors manager Russ Oxley and company co-founder and CIO Guy Cameron.