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Responsible Funds, July 22: US firm NPX Advisors launches innovative Impact Security

The round-up of the latest responsible funds news

US-based NPX Advisors has launched what it describes as an innovative new financial product that explicitly links financial returns with social and environmental impact. Dubbed the Impact Security, it is a debt security featuring variable returns that are contingent on the achievement of predetermined metrics, says a statement from NPX Advisors. It says it is working with donors, nonprofits and impact investors to structure Impact Security deals.

Kames Capital, the UK funds house with £57.8bn (€69bn) under management, says it has been awarded the highest possible rating from the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) for the second year running. Kames said it was rated A+ for its overarching approach to responsible investment, compared to the average rating of B. In total, just 15% of signatories achieved an A+ rating. “We are delighted to have received such a positive feedback report for the second consecutive year. This underlines our longstanding commitment to being a global leader in sustainable and responsible investment,” said Ryan Smith, Kames’ head of ethical research and corporate governance.

Big Issue Invest is working in partnership with Life Changes Trust, a charity that works to improve the lives of young people who have had experience of the care system and people affected by dementia, to roll out the Corporate Social Venturing (CSV) programme in Scotland. Similarly to CSV England, the programme offers a combination of investment and business support from corporate partners to the successful applicants with the main objective being to develop sustainable businesses that tackle some of society’s biggest challenges.

Australia is set to launch its first social impact bond focused on reducing reoffending. The country’s National Australia Bank (NAB) will back the social impact bond issued by the New South Wales Government. No financial details have been disclosed. NSW has two other social impact bonds focused on out-of-home care of children. Elsewhere, Australia’s Victoria government is reportedly planning to launch a social impact bond to get young people out of drug and alcohol addiction. More details are expected in coming weeks.Canada’s Responsible Investment Association (RIA) has introduced a new designation for mutual fund advisors wishing to enhance their knowledge of responsible investment principles and products. The Responsible Investment Specialist (RIS) designation is now available to investment professionals who successfully complete the RIA’s Canadian RI Fundamentals course.

The Quilter Cheviot Climate Assets Fund returned +10.78% for the first two quarters of 2016 and +64.40% since launch to 30 June 2016. The Fund, which is currently worth £40 million, invests globally in opportunities linked to climate change, resource scarcity and population growth by multi-asset allocation and multi-thematic investing. Claudia Quiroz, lead manager of the fund, said: “Despite a challenging year for the markets, returns for our sustainability fund remain strong and we continue to outperform the FTSE WMA Stock Market Balanced and the peer group”.

KGAL, the Germany based asset manager, has added the 12.3MW Clamecy wind farm in Burgundy to its French wind farm portfolio. It was sold by Wiesbaden-based ABO Invest AG and Abo Wind AG and its KGAL’s tenth wind farm acquisition in France.

New York-based exchange-traded fund provider Global X Funds has reportedly launched the Global X Conscious Companies ETF. It tracks the equities of US-listed companies with positive ESG factors in the Concinnity Conscious Companies Index.

Partners for Sustainability, the Zurich-based research and communications company that specialises in the non-financial analysis of sustainability funds, has recently launched its Sustainability Fund Finder. The tool is targeted both at private and institutional investors and aims to facilitate an efficient selection of sustainability funds using financial, social and environmental criteria. It contains more than 1,300 funds on a global basis, of which more than 300 have a sales registration in the UK. Link