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Responsible Funds, December 13: Australia’s Regnan moves into fund management with launch of first strategy

The latest responsible funds news

Regnan, the Australian governance firm first established by institutional investors and academics in the early 2000s, is expanding into fund management through the planned launch of its first strategy in late 2020. The Global Impact Equity Strategy will be overseen by a four-person team which previously managed the Hermes Impact Opportunities Equity Fund, led by Tim Crockford. The Global Impact Equity Strategy will focus on “mission-driven companies… providing solutions for the growing unmet sustainability needs of society and the environment”.

Franklin Templeton has led the first fundraising round for Proof of Impact (POI), a Dutch start-up which is creating the first impact investment marketplace with measurable impact outcomes underpinned by blockchain technology. In addition to Franklin Templeton, which currently serves as a POI board member, other participants include Ausum Ventures, Crypto Valley Venture Capital and Pangea Blockchain fund. The POI marketplace is due to be launched in the first quarter of next year.

Piva, a new energy-focused venture capital firm, has closed its inaugural $250m fund which will invest in “breakthrough technologies” to solve the “world’s greatest energy and industrial problems”. The firm is helmed by ex-GE Ventures Managing Director Ricardo Angel and counts Petronas, Malaysia’s state-owned oil and gas company, as its sole Limited Partner (LP).

Varma, the Finnish pensions insurer, has invested an additional €500m ($553m) in an exchange-traded fund range co-created with Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM) and index maker Foxberry. The ETF range, which initially provided exposure to European equities when first launched in September, has now been broadened to include US stocks. 

Morningstar has reported that only 5% of European ESG bond funds are passively managed, a total of 36 funds valued at €11bn. According to the data provider’s first report on the passive ESG bond market, nearly half of funds and 69% of underlying assets are in investment-grade corporate bonds, although exposure to emerging market and high yield bonds is increasing.

AV Group, a Cayman Islands impact and ESG manager, is launching the first of several funds which will be managed from its Luxembourg office investing in “strategic core areas of Nordic growth” such as clean tech, smart city/society tech and ocean space tech. The fund, which will adhere to the UN SDGs, will receive strategic financial matches to its investments under an arrangement with the Norwegian government.

Spanish bank BBVA has launched its first pension plan “managed with SRI criteria”, the BBVA Moderate Sustainable Plan SRI, for its Spanish clients. The pension plan will invest 30-50% of its underlying assets in equities, according to reports, and will focus on risk control and capital preservation.

UBS O’Connor, the Swiss bank’s hedge fund business, is due to launch its first long-short fund according to a recent interview with Kevin Russell, the unit’s CIO. The new strategy will leverage alternative data and will focus on making short bets on environmental factors such as carbon footprints and regulatory reform.

The Rockefeller, Ford and Visa foundations, in addition to six other family offices and foundations, have launched the Tipping Point Fund, a pooled donor fund which will support the creation of “critical market infrastructure” for impact investing. The fund, initially capitalised at $12.5m, will invest in two key areas: public engagement and policy, and data, performance metrics and impact measurement.

AMF Fonder, the funds arm of Swedish life insurance provider AMF, has launched the AMF Equity Emerging Markets, an actively managed strategy investing in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe. The fund, which incorporates sustainability criteria and low fees, will be benchmarked against the MSCI Emerging Markets ESG Leaders NO and has a “relatively high level of risk”.

Brunel Pensions Partnership (BPP), one of eight pooled UK local authority pension schemes, has appointed five managers to run its Global High Alpha fund. The £30bn (€36bn) BPP awarded mandates to AllianceBernstein, Baillie Gifford, Fiera Capital, Harris Associates and Royal London Asset Management. The Global High Alpha fund will initially have a £2.6bn (€3.1bn) portfolio to be allocated between the selected managers.

Hannover Re, together with the German Development Bank (KfW), the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Global Parametrics (GP), a provider of parametric insurance against climate risks in developing markets, have jointly announced the launch of a new impact fund. The Natural Disaster Fund (NDF) Deutschland will invest in insurance protection against natural catastrophes and climate risks in developing markets. The fund has secured initial commitments of €25m from BMZ, and a $50m matching capacity from Hannover Re. 

Fidelity International has launched a UK-domiciled version of its Sustainable Water & Waste Fund (OEIC), a thematic strategy investing across water and waste value chains. According to the firm, the Luxembourg equivalent of the OEIC is “one of the most popular actively-managed sustainable funds with European investors” having reached a $1bn valuation a year after launch.

ClearlySo, a Europe-based impact investment manager, has raised more than £2m (€2.4m) to “hire additional team members”. A combination of 13 existing and 6 new individual and institutional investors from six different countries participated in the fundraising round. ClearlySo has mobilised more than £258m (€309m) in impact investments to-date.