Responsible Funds, June 14: New Irish renewables manager targeting €150m solar fund

The round-up of responsible funds news

A new renewable energy asset management business called Amarenco has been set up in Dublin, Ireland. It will focus on solar photovoltaic investments in Europe and says it is in the later stages of finalising arrangements for a €150m solar fund. The founder and CEO of Amarenco is John Mullins, who stepped down at the end of 2012 as CEO of Irish utility Bord Gáis.

US insurance and wealth management company Hartford Financial Services Group (The Hartford) is adding investment options from three faith-based investment fund families. It is adding the Timothy Plan, the Luther King Capital Management Aquinas Funds and the Ave Maria Mutual Funds to its line-up of defined contribution retirement plans. “We are seeing increased demand for more socially responsible investments, in this case faith-based funds,” said Peter Moore, vice president of The Hartford’s public sector retirement sales.

The European Investment Bank is considering increasing its investment in the Green for Growth Fund, which targets energy efficiency and smaller renewable energy investments in southeastern and Eastern Europe. The fund’s mission is to contribute, in the form of a public-private partnership with layered risk-return structure, to enhancing energy efficiency and renewable energy in the targeted regions. Link

Sustainable Capital, the Mauritius-based boutique which specialises listed African equities and which has links to the Sanlam group, says its new 15-stock Nigeria Fund has posted a 59.3% return (USD) in its first 12 months, against a 64.0% return for its S&P Nigeria Net Total Return benchmark. Link*Sustainable asset manager Althelia Ecosphere* has announced a €60m first round closing of its Althelia Climate Fund. The Luxembourg-domiciled vehicle is a public-private partnership and investors include the Church of Sweden, the European Investment Bank, Finnfund and FMO, the Finnish and Dutch development institutions. Over the next 12 Althelia expects to raise additional capital towards a €15-200m target. Gunnela Hahn, Head of Responsible Investment at the Church of Sweden said the body was “very happy to be a seed investor of Althelia Climate Fund, acknowledging their strong capacity to create best practice for the social and environmental elements of REDD+ as a way of mitigating climate change”.

Dexia Sustainable World, the €32.2m subfund of the Dexia Sustainable sicav, has returned 14.6% in the year to the end of May – against a 13.17% return at the MSCI World benchmark, according to fund documents. The current annualized return over a three-year view is 10.19% (benchmark: 13.17%). The fund invests globally in the stocks of the best companies within each sector which most successfully integrate environmental, social and governance concerns into their business models and their stakeholder management.

A Sharia-compliant funds deal has been put together by new US fund firm Accretive Wealth Management and Aperio Group, which specialises in applying enhanced indexing techniques to socially responsive portfolios. Companies included in their Islamic Values portfolio must first pass various exclusionary screens; a further screen eliminates companies that derive significant income from interest.