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Responsible Funds, Dec. 8: ERAFP, Skagen, Foresight, Greensphere, Crédit Agricole, Quaero Capital

The latest responsible funds developments.

ERAFP, France’s public service additional pension scheme (ERAFP), a 100% SRI investor with €28bn in assets, has launched a call for tenders to award one action and two standby management mandates for hedging the foreign exchange risk of its assets, with 19 January 2018 as the deadline for submissions. It stated that the “macroeconomic situation in recent years has brought to light the importance of currency risk incurred by investors in their portfolios”. The notional amount hedged at the start of the mutual fund is expected to be around €2bn, with the initial term of the mandates set at four years.

Norwegian asset manager Skagen Funds, which current manages €8.5bn, has reportedly launched a global equity fund focusing on companies subject to activist campaigns. Skagen Insight, a UCITS-compliant fund run by Tomas Johansson, employs a “shadow activism” approach, picking stocks whose value it believes will be beneficially improved through changes catalysed by activist investors.

Foresight Group, the £2.8bn infrastructure and private equity house, has announced the launch of a new actively managed UK-listed renewable energy and infrastructure fund, available to both retail and institutional investors. The FP Foresight UK Infrastructure Income Fund, which has received FCA regulatory approval, seeks to benefit from the “unprecedented growth in renewable energy and infrastructure investment over the last five years”. It will target an annual income of 5% per annum with dividends paid quarterly.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System has said it has agreed to buy 80% of Rocky Caney Holdings, which owns two wind farms, the 200MW Caney River facility in Kansas, and the 149MW Rocky Ridge facility in Oklahoma. “This is a great opportunity for CalPERS to expand our renewable energy holdings,” said Chief Investment Officer Ted Eliopoulos. “The wind farms are not only an important source of clean energy, they also meet the strategic role of our real assets program.” CalPERS made the investment through the Gulf Pacific Power account, an existing partnership between CalPERS and Harbert Management Corporation.

Sustainable investment boutique Greensphere Capital plans to raise $500m by listing on the London Stock Exchange. It plans to invest in a variety of sustainable infrastructure projects and companies, both listed and private, engaged in water, waste, renewable energy, energy transmission and distribution, sustainable agriculture, and resource and energy efficiency amongst others. Greensphere was founded by Divya Seshamani, formerly with the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC). Investment committee members include Deirdre Cooper (partner at Ecofin), venture capital veteran Jon Moulton, Paul Lester (ex-John Laing Infrastructure Fund), Ian Nolan (founding CEO and CIO of the UK Green Investment Bank) and GIC board member Dr. Teh Kok Peng.French bank Crédit Agricole is backing a new impact investment fund aiming to improve the lives of 2m people through projects in developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The new Livelihoods Carbon Fund, which is seeking to raise €100m, will start investing in ecosystem restoration, agroforestry, and energy projects as of next year. It will also seek to avoid 25m tons of CO2 over a 20-year span through its efforts.

Geneva based specialist asset manager Quaero Capital has launched new low carbon fund, the Accessible Clean Energy fund, focusing on “listed fast-growing clean energy stocks”. The $32m UCITS, a Luxembourg domiciled SICAV, managed by Martina Turner and Zoë VanderWolk, will be marketed to institutional and professional investors across Europe and the UK. Its Accessible Clean Energy strategy is supported by a high-level Advisory Board, which includes Georges Dupont-Roc, founder of Royal Dutch Shell Renewable Energies and former Director of Sustainable Development at Total.

Change Finance, a new US firm at the “intersection of Occupy and Wall Street” has launched its first exchange traded fund, the Change Finance Diversified Impact U.S. Large Cap Fossil Fuel Free ETF (NYSE: CHGX). It says it is the only ETF that uses diversified impact screens to look beyond excluding fossil fuels, taking a comprehensive approach to socially responsible investing; its methodology is informed by the Sustainable Development Goals.

US asset manager Legg Mason has reportedly launched a new ESG emerging markets fund. The Legg Mason Martin Currie Global Emerging Markets fund will be managed by veteran Kim Catechis, Head of Emerging Markets at Martin Currie, Legg Mason’s equity specialist affiliate. The Dublin-domiciled fund uses an “ESG integrated filter” to better understand the profile of the companies it invests in and to identify engagement points with companies’ management.

Australian “clean energy financier” Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has announced a A$200m investment in real estate giant QICGRE’s flagship Shopping Centre Fund. The senior debt facility – CEFC’s largest property investment commitment to date – will be used to improve energy performance across the QSCF shopping centre portfolio in Australia.

Jupiter Green Investment Trust has taken a stake in Italian cable maker Prysmian. “Given the uncertainties in the current market backdrop, we feel comfortable holding extra cash to exploit opportunities that might arise,” it said in its latest half-year report. “We have put some of this to work in recent weeks, taking a position in Prysmian, an Italian cable manufacturer which is exposed to growth in the off-shore wind sector, and adding to positions in Lenzing and Wabtec.”