Responsible Funds, January 22: Erste AM, Prudential Financial, Delta Lloyd, Nordea AM

The round-up of the latest responsible funds news

Austria’s Erste Asset Management (EAM) has fully divested its sustainable funds, which hold €4bn in assets, from companies that derive more than 5% of their revenues from coal mining. The divestment entails the selling of shares and bonds in 30 listed companies. In a statement, EAM called the divestment the logical next step after signing the Montreal Pledge last year. “By signing this pledge we committed ourselves to measuring and publishing the carbon footprint of our equity portfolios annually in order to contribute to the reduction of the CO2 emissions in the long run,” said EAM Chief Executive Heinz Bednar.

US-based insurer Prudential Financial (PFI) has announced a partnership with Mauritius-based LeapFrog Investments for the sake of investing in African life insurance companies. Under the tie-up, Prudential will provide $350m (€323m) to an investment vehicle run by LeapFrog that will target life insurers in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria. The investments will be made over a three- to five-year period. “This investment expands PFI’s footprint into Africa, a continent we believe offers tremendous potential for growth over the long term,” said Charles Lowrey, Chief Operating Officer of PFI’s international business.

Nordea Asset Management has joined the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) initiative, which ranks the top listed companies on their human rights performance. The CHRB was set up by Aviva Investors, Calvert Investments, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Institute for Human Rights and Business, EIRIS (now Vigeo Eiris) and VBDO, the Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development. “As the initiative works towards publishing the first pilot benchmark in November 2016, Nordea’s support and guidance will be a huge asset to the CHRB Steering Committee,” the group said in a statement. Magdalena Kettis, Head of Thematic Research at Nordea, will represent the firm on the CHRB Steering Committee.

The European Central Bank (ECB) has given asset managers until January 25 to make pitches for two investment mandates that are worth nearly €1bn and which include SRI criteria. According to a request for a proposal (RFP) from the ECB, the mandates are for its pension fund and include a passive global equity brief and a passive fixed income one. The Frankfurt-based institution said asset managers must be signatories of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and have a track record of experience with socially responsible investing.Delta Lloyd Asset Management has invested €66m in a 20-year bond issued by Dutch shipbuilding company Anthony Veder, the proceeds of which will be used to build a vessel powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). According to Dutch bank ABN Amro, the deal is the first of its kind in an industry “which to date, has not joined the ranks of verified sustainable financing.” ABN Amro was the deal’s arranger. The vessel to be built is an 18,000 cubic metre carrier that will transport LNG and use the boil off the cargo for its propulsion.

Paris-based Tikehau Investment Management has announced that it will measure and disclose the carbon footprint on a regular basis of the following funds: Tikehau Taux Variables, Tikehau Credit Plus, Tikehau Subordonnées Financières and Tikehau Income Cross Assets. The calculation method will be based on data from South Pole, a carbon data supplier, in partnership with ExFi Partners, a firm specialising in guiding institutional investors and asset management companies on ESG matters. Home page

Leading UK responsible investor RPMI Railpen has partnered with Swiss asset management boutique, Unigestion, to launch two multi-factor equity funds. The pair are both signatories to the Priniciples for Responsible Investment, and Funds Europe reports that Railpen is providing seed capital for both funds.

Infrastructure and private equity firm Foresight Group has announced the investment of £3.9m from its Foresight AD EIS fund to construct an anaerobic digestion plant in County Down, Northern Ireland. The transaction, which reached financial close on 15 December 2015, is the first investment made by Foresight AD EIS Fund, which raised £25 million from private investors.

The China CleanTech Index outperformed all of its four benchmarks for the last quarter of 2015 and for the full year. All of the eight sub-indices recorded gains for the quarter. The best results were the 79.3% gain for the China Storage Index and the 44.3% gain for the China Efficiency Index. The worst results were recorded by the 0.9% gain from the China Hydro Index and 13.3% gain from the China Wind Index. The market capitalisation of the 162 stocks in the China CleanTech Index is RMB 2.1 trillion (€292bn). Link