Responsible Funds & Indices, Feb. 1: Thai exchange plans sustainability index

The round-up of responsible funds & indices news


The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) says it plans to create a new index to “enhance and improve listed companies’ social responsibility operations”. The planned SET Sustainability Index (SET SI) is part of a broader sustainability plan under which listed firms are to be required to disclose their corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities in filings and annual reports. Link

The Dow Jones Sustainability World Index returned 13.73% in 2012 (measured in euros), according to a new fact sheet, and it was up 15.51% in dollar terms over the same period. Three year annualized returns in euros were 7.24%. Since inception in 1999 in has returned an annualized 6.18%. The top 10 components are General Electric, Nestle, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, HSBC, Samsung, Novartis, Roche Holdings, BHP Billiton and Vodafone. They are selected according to a systematic corporate sustainability assessment that identifies the sustainability leaders in each of 57 industry groups.


The £274m (€317.9m) First State Global Emerging Markets Sustainability Fund racked up returns of 25.1% in 2012, compared to 13.0% for its MSCI Emerging Markets Index benchmark. Over three years the returns are 48.4% (benchmark: 13.9%). The fund, managed by David Gait and Millar Mathieson, has its largest holdings in India’s Marico, the Philippines’ Manila Water Co. and consumer products giant Unilever. Disposals during the fourth quarter of 2012 included Taiwan’s Taiflex Scientific and Cayman Islands-based Consolidated Water.

The Co-operative Asset Management’s £84.5m CIS Sustainable World Trust has returned 28.7% over the past three years, compared to a sector median of 16.8%, according to fund documents. The fund is managed by Head of Equities Mike Fox and its three largest holdings are in Pulte Group, Google and Wells Fargo & Co.KGAL, the investment company owned by Germany’s Commerzbank, BayernLB, HASPA Finanzholding and Sal. Oppenheim which has a total of €25.1bn under management, says its solar energy funds performed “very well” in the past year. All its photovoltaic plants produced more electricity than forecast. Four of the six photovoltaic funds for private investors in the infrastructure asset category had higher distributions than projected, it said.

The Calvert International Equity Fund returned 17.61% in 2012, against an 18.20% for its benchmark the MSCI Europe, Australasia and Far East (EAFE) Global Investable Market Index, according to a fourth-quarter report. The fund is managed by Thornburg Investment Management, Martin Currie and US sustainable funds firm Calvert Investment Management.

The World Bank’s private sector finance arm the International Finance Corp. (IFC) has teamed up with India’s Yes Bank to set up a fund to support small and growing businesses in northeast India – to help “promote inclusive and sustainable development in priority sectors”. “Collaborating with IFC will help us leverage our respective capabilities in expanding financial services to the region,” said Yes Bank Chief Executive and co-founder Rana Kapoor.

The new Cedrus Sustainable Opportunities fund of funds has already reached €49.6m as at the end of 2012. The fund, which primarily invests in sustainable and responsible underlying securities, was launched in November last year and is managed by Chief Investment Officer Annie Martinet-Villalon, a former portfolio manager at Credit Agricole and Amundi Asset Management. In total, Paris-based Cedrus Asset Management has €350m under management and advisory.