Responsible Funds, July 10: Strong returns for La Française Inflection Point ‘strategically aware’ fund

The round-up of the latest responsible funds news

La Française Inflection Point Actions Euro 1, the €230m fund based on LFIP’s proprietary ‘Strategically Aware Investing’ (SAI) stock selection process, has had a year-to-date performance of 24.77%, according to LFIP Managing Director Matthew Kiernan. LFIP is a venture between French asset manager La Française and Kiernan’s Inflection Point Capital Management. The 62-holdings fund is managed by Ronald Petitjean and the top holdings are Intesa Sanpaolo, Peugeot and Gemalto. The SAI method selects stocks by combining financial criteria and strategic research: in addition to conventional ESG criteria, LFIP also considers companies’ innovation capacity and responsiveness and megatrends. The E, S and G factors are combined with a company’s innovation capacity and adaptability and responsiveness to form what it calls “the 5 factors”.

Sycomore Asset Management, the French fund firm with clients such as ERAFP and the FRR, has launched a new SRI fund focused on human capital. The euro-denominated Sycomore Happy @Work offering will be a fonds commun de placement (FCP) structure and will focus on the quality of work life, motivation and empowerment.

German renewable fund provider CHORUS has decided to postpone an initial public offering (IPO) due to the market turbulence caused by the Greek crisis. “It’s simply not in the interest of our current shareholders to undersell our company in these turbulent times,” CHORUS Chief Executive told the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper. CHORUS had planned on doing the IPO later this month with the bookrunners pricing its shares between €9.75 and €12.50 euros apiece. On the grey market, however, its shares were changing hands at €9.35 apiece. The Munich-based firm aimed to raise up to €125m from the IPO.

The labelled green bond market, currently around $66bn big, will likely not grow to a predicted $100bn by the end of this year, according to the Climate Bonds Initiative. Speaking at an event in Frankfurt this week, CEO Sean Kidney said: “In the US, corporates are doing virtually nothing and there has been generally low ticket issuance by municipal governments.” He added that the sums auditors were charging for green bond assurance may be a deterrent. China has also come later to the green bonds market than originally thought, Kidney said. The Frankfurt event marked the unveiling of Climate Bonds’ latest green bond report, which reflected that the global market for climate-related bonds was just under $600bn, with around $419bn coming from the transport sector.Vienna-based Erste Asset Management has launched a green bond fund for the German market. According to Erste, its ‘Responsible Bond Global Impact’ fund is the first of its kind in that it only invests in green bonds, climate bonds and certified social bonds. Manager of the fund, which has a volume of €32.5m, is Martin Cech. Erste believes that growth of the green bond segment will continue to be robust in coming years. By 2018, for example, issuance could hit $300bn (€269bn) compared with around $65bn now, the Austrian firm says.

Swiss asset manager responsAbility says its flagship ‘Global Microfinance Fund’ allocated $15m to seven microfinance and fair trade companies during June, bringing the total number of such firms that responsAbility is invested in to 290. The fund, which has almost €1.1bn in assets, made some of its first investments in Pakistan and Bosnia-Herzegovina last month. The top five emerging markets that Global Microfinance is invested in are Cambodia (6.6% of portfolio), Peru (6.3%), India (6%), Azerbaijan (5.8%) and Costa Rica (5.7%).

Union Investment, the Frankfurt-based asset manager and PRI signatory, has expanded its market presence in Austria considerably with the acquisition of two fund companies formerly owned by Austrian co-operative banks. In a statement, Union said it would acquire all of VB Invest and 94.5% of Immo KAG, a real estate fund provider. The two companies have €5.4bn in assets under management between them and serve primarily Austria’s retail market. Financial details of the transaction, which is expected to close in the third quarter, were not released.

CalPERS, the $300bn pension giant, has become the first American pension fund to join the Dutch corporate governance platform Eumedion, IPE reports. Said Eumedion Executive Director Rients Abma: “As a reputable player, CalPERS will add weight to our efforts to improve corporate governance and sustainability at Dutch listed companies, as well to our influence on policymakers in both the Netherlands and Brussels.” According to IPE, CalPERS has around €900m allocated to listed Dutch companies. Eumedion’s other non-Dutch members include the UK’s Universities Superannuation Scheme, Railpen and US-based asset management giant BlackRock.

New York private equity giant Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) has released its fifth ‘ESG and Citizenship Report.’ According to KRR, its latest report includes examples of how it integrated ESG (environmental, social and governance) issues when investing. “Topics include addressing investor expectations, improving food security and safety in Asia, advancing eco-innovation (under its Green Portfolio Program), and engaging employees,” KKR said.