Responsible Funds, July 27: Pax Ellevate, AXA Rosenberg, NZ Super, VLC Renewables, Osmosis

The latest responsible funds news

US ‘gender lens’ investor Pax Ellevate Management says the $227m Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Leadership Fund has outperformed its benchmark, the MSCI World Index, for the one-year and three-year periods ending June 30. Moreover, for the four-year period since June 30, 2014 its institutional class shares have returned 7.37% and its investor class shares have returned 7.11%, compared with the MSCI World Index return of 6.67%.

US pension giant CalPERS has recruited AXA Rosenberg, the quantitative equities arm of AXA Investment Managers, to its roster of ESG managers. The firm will construct a “model portfolio” of stocks that have lower volatility than the market, and whose profitability is more reliable.

The NZ Super Fund has congratulated Bloom Energy, in which it has a US$100m stake, on its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange – though it acknowledged that Bloom was currently priced below the level at which it had initially invested in the clean energy firm. “The public listing is a significant milestone for Bloom Energy as it works to deliver sustainable on-site electricity to organisations around the world,” said Acting Chief Investment Officer Mark Fennell. “We look forward to supporting Bloom Energy as a listed entity for mutual benefit.”

Energy and commodities company Vitol and investment company Low Carbon have announced the closing of a Jersey-based fund, VLC Renewables, focused on renewable energy assets across Europe. With an initial €200m allocation from Vitol, it will initially target investments in both onshore and offshore wind and will invest in projects at various stages of the development cycle, including late stage development, construction and operation. They said that investment opportunities “may be offered to third parties”.

A new venture capital fund is to invest in sectors using Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) to address global challenges such as renewable energy integration, resource scarcity and a growing population. The fund – named AP Ventures – is said to be the “first fund of its kind investing in pioneering technologies and businesses harnessing the unique high performance characteristics of PGMs”. Anglo American Platinum and South Africa’s Public Investment Corporation (PIC) have become cornerstone investors, each committing $100m to the fund. Link*Queens’ College Cambridge*, founded in 1448, is shifting part of its £86.2m endowment into a low-cost index-tracking fund as part of its move to get out of fossil fuels. The college announced plans to exit coal, oil and CO2 polluters earlier this month. Specialist consulting firm ElstonETF said in a statement that it had been hired by the educational establishment to design a new low-carbon equity portfolio, using exchange traded funds (ETFs) from State Street.

The PGGM Infrastructure Fund has signed an agreement to acquire a 20% stake in SUEZ Water Resources Inc. Part of the transaction are 15 regulated water utilities, mainly concentrated in the Northeast region of the US. SUEZ Water Resources is an American subsidiary of SUEZ, serving 2.1m people in New Jersey, New York, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Rhode Island.

Osmosis Investment Management, the UK-based sustainable specialist asset manager, is launching a new UCITS fund. The Osmosis MoRE World Resource Efficiency Fund – Sustainable Market Neutral will be launched on August 3 with £30m seeding from an unnamed European asset owner.

Charity and ethical investment specialist Rathbone Greenbank Investments, part of Rathbone Brothers, has reached a record £1.2bn of funds under management. It said: “In line with growing retail demand, we also announced our intention to launch the Rathbone Global Sustainability Fund in July 2018.” It was the “next logical step for our funds business, building on the success and strong growth of the Rathbone Ethical Bond Fund”. Meanwhile, funds managed with a charitable mandate increased 4.3% to £4.9bn.

Rabobank and the European Investment Bank (EIB) are launching an expanded €250m “impact loan” for SMEs in the Netherlands, following three earlier successful operations. So far, nearly 300 environmentally-conscious businesses in the Netherlands have already benefitted from advantageous lending conditions of the EIB-backed impact loans with Rabobank. Wiebe Draijer, Chairman of Rabobank’s Managing Board, said: “Impact loans are a success.” He went on to say the bank was investigating whether impact loans can also be deployed to finance circular economy initiatives.