Responsible Funds & Indices, March 22: three new Franklin Templeton Shariah funds

The round-up of responsible funds and indices news


Franklin Templeton Investments, the New York-listed mutual funds group, has launched three Shariah compliant funds for its new Luxembourg-domiciled Shariah Funds range; they will be available to international investors on March 25. The range includes the first UCITS compliant Global Sukuk fund, to be run by Modieddine ‘Dino’ Kronfol and international chief investment officer Stephen Dover. Also launched are the Templeton Shariah Global Equity Fund and the Templeton Shariah Asian Growth Fund, run by Alan Chua and emerging markets guru Mark Mobius respectively.

France-based AXA’s private equity arm has raised €1.75bn for a new infrastructure fund called AXA Infrastructure Fund III. The fund will target the gas and electricity grid and renewable energy sectors, according to a Reuters report citing AXA’s Head of Infrastructure Mathias Burghardt. The fund has already inked deals including one for Austrian group Verbund’s French wind farms.

Australian Ethical’s A$76.4m (€61.4m) global smart energy-themed International Equities Trust rose 3.2% in February, underperforming its benchmark, the MSCI Global Climate Index (AUD) Index which rose 4.6%. Fund manager Nathan Lim argues strongly that energy efficiency, such as LED light bulbs, are a route to cutting emissions.

Hermes BPK Partners, the hedge fund arm of Hermes Fund Managers, the asset manager owned by the BT Pension Scheme has teamed up with private equity firm Northern Lights Capital to launch a fund to invest in start-up hedge funds. The Accelerator Fund will start with some $250m; it has made its first investment in Taurasi Capital Management, a New York-based long/short firm.h6. Indices

Walt Disney and McDonald’s are to be added to the Calvert Social Index following improvements in their behavior. The former “has demonstrated improved performance and management of employee health and safety risks”. And McDonald’s has “implemented improved policies and programs related to human rights and labor relations”. Also included in the index will be New York-listed American Water Works, following improvements in its disclosure of environmental and safety indicators.

Four companies have been added to the NASDAQ OMX Clean Edge Smart Grid Infrastructure Index. They are Nasdaq-listed solar systems firm Enphase Energy and tech firm PowerSecure International, New York-listed Pike Electric and Hong Kong’s Wasion Group. Echelon Corporation will be removed. The index tracks the smart grid and electric infrastructure sector; it has an associated exchange traded fund called the First Trust Nasdaq Clean Edge Smart Grid Infrastructure Index Fund.

The Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, composed of global sustainability leaders as identified by RobecoSAM, has returned 11.62% (in euros) in the year to the end of February, according to a new fact sheet. Year-to-date performance is 5.23%.

The International Securities Exchange, the US options exchange, says its ISE Water Index has been licenced for the Water Fund offered by Israeli exchange traded fund group KSM Sal Indices Certificates. The ISE said it looks forward to “working with KSM to introduce this product to a broadened investor pool.”