Responsible Funds, July 8: Brown University sets up sustainability fund

The round-up of the latest responsible funds news

Brown University, the Rhode Island-based research university, has launched a sustainability fund, the Brown University Sustainable Investment Fund (SIF). “As of June 2016, you can now support Brown University in a way that’s focused specifically on sustainability with no minimum gift requirement,” it says. The Fund’s environmental standards preclude investments in companies that produce, manufacture or refine fossil fuels, while simultaneously seeking superior financial performance. The fund’s payouts will be used with a bias toward sustainability projects on campus. The Investment Office, the President’s Office and the Division of Advancement, in conjunction with University students and alumni, worked together to establish the Fund to provide an accessible, sustainability-focused, endowed giving option for the Brown community.

Swedish state buffer fund Första AP-fonden (AP1) and the BAE Systems Pension Funds Investment Management were among six institutional investors that have backed a new water infrastructure fund from ‘real assets’ firm Resonance. Resonance, founded in 2012 by Nick Wood, the founder and CEO of Man Environmental Capital Opportunities, announced the third close of Resonance Industrial Water Infrastructure Limited with commitments of $300m. It said the offering is the first institutional fund exclusively focused on financing industrial water infrastructure projects in Europe, south east Asia, China, Australia and New Zealand.

Impax Asset Management, the AIM-listed investment manager focused on environmental markets, says its assets under management have grown to £4bn (€4.7bn) – 13% higher than AUM at the start of the quarter on 1 April 2016 and 42% more than AUM at the start of Impax’s current financial year (October 1 2015). During the most recent quarter, Impax had net inflows of £112m, predominantly from Continental European investors and an initial allocation from a new North American client.

The UK government has launched an £80m fund to support social impact bonds. Dubbed, the ‘Life Chances Fund’ it will be structured around six key themes – drug and alcohol dependency, children’s services, early years, young people, older people’s services and healthy lives. In related news, the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University launched the Government Outcomes Lab (GO Lab). The GO Lab will deepen understanding of outcomes-based commissioning, including social impact bonds, by researching new ways for the public sector to commission services. Link

Impact investing fund TriLinc Global Impact Fund says it has approved an additional $14.5m in term loan and trade finance facilities to companies operating in Latin America, Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. It brings the Los Angeles-based fund’s total financing commitments as of June 30 this year to $173.3m.

Germany’s KGAL is launching its fourth Enhanced Sustainable Power Fund (ESPF 4). It is designed for institutional investors and has a targeted size of €500m. “For the first time, the investment strategy encompasses the entire value chain spectrum within wind power, solar, hydropower and other renewable energy technologies,” KGAL said.Ircantec, the €9.2bn French public sector pension scheme for state employees, and regional authority workers, is launching a dedicated green bond fund at the end of this year to run the investments as a separate asset class. The pay-as-you-go pension fund has already invested over €300m in green bonds since 2013, representing 7% of its overall bond holdings held previously within its general bond fund. The new dedicated green bond fund will be mandated to invest in green bonds from issuers in OECD countries and structured as a fonds commun de placement (FCP) open-ended fund. A tender for the manager to run the fund will be put into the market shortly. Virginie Chapron-du Jeu, investment director at Caisse des Dépôts, the fiduciary manager for Ircantec, said: “The market for green bonds has now reached a level of maturity and size to justify a distinct investment strategy and their being defined as an individual asset class.”

Mirova, Natixis Asset Management’s responsible investment manager, has announced the final closing of its renewable energy fund Mirova-Eurofideme 3, with €350m of commitments – higher than its €200m initial target. It said the fundraising has benefited from support by both existing and new institutional investors from several European countries, including the European Investment Bank which invested €40m.

The New Zealand government has reportedly failed in getting its first social impact bond off the ground after the service provider walked away. ONE News Now says the social impact bond, that would see employment consultants work with medical General Practitioners to help those suffering with mental health back into the workforce, also had trouble finding investors.

The Resonance Bristol Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) Fund has made its third investment in Bristol in western England. City magazine “Bristol 24/7” is the latest Bristol-based social enterprise to receive investment (£150,000) from the fund.

The Capria Emerging Managers Fund is a new $100m fund that will invest in equity and debt funds targeting early-stage impact businesses across Africa, Latin America, and Asia. It comes from Capria Ventures, the global impact investment firm that manages the Unitus Seed Fund and Capria Accelerator. In the next five years, the fund plans to invest in at least 15 impact funds. By 2025, Capria expects to unlock over $500m of capital to invest in businesses that will cumulatively serve more than 5m low-income people. Capria also announced that it has partnered with two additional impact fund managers: Alitheia Identity, investing in women-led businesses across Africa, and idacapital, investing in technology & innovation in Turkey. And it said that the World Bank’s IFC, Ceniarth, a family office based in London and Sorenson Impact Foundation have joined Bill Gates and others as financial supporters of Capria Accelerator.