Responsible Funds, June 16: Aviva, Caisse des Dépôts, BNP Paribas Cardif take €100m social impact bond

The latest responsible funds news

French infrastructure fund manager Ampere-Gestion, a subsidiary of Caisse des Dépôts and France’s leading landlord, has completed the first round of funding for its €100m social impact bond (1 June). The Hémisphere Fund, which will focus on increasing the supply of emergency shelter and accommodation for vulnerable people in France, counts Aviva France, BNP Paribas Cardif, and Caisse des Dépôts amongst its investors.

Columbia Threadneedle Investments, the funds arm of Ameriprise Financial, has launched a new Shariah-compliant fund with London-based Shariah specialist Gatehouse Bank, reports CityWire. The Threadneedle Gatehouse Shariah Global Equity fund, to be run by Global Equities Manager Simon Haines, will invest in between 50 and 80 stocks globally in accordance with guidelines set by the Shariah Supervisory Board.

Frankfurt based index provider Solactive AG has launched a new sustainability index in collaboration with ESG house oekom. The Solactive oekom ESG Fossil Free Eurozone 50 Index tracks the price fluctuations of Euro-zone companies with the best sustainability credentials and which have achieved oekom’s ‘prime’ status. The index excludes companies which have a focus on fossil fuels, generate nuclear power, develop, manufacture or sell military weapons, or which are embroiled in severe controversies.

Generation Investment Management, Al Gore’s sustainability boutique, and BMW’s venture capital arm, BMW i Ventures, have invested in Californian heavy-duty electric transportation firm, Proterra. Proterra, whose previous $140m round of investment – raised in January – was oversubscribed, announced it had closed $55m in its sixth round this week.

US investor services firm Broadridge Financial Solutions has announced that it will make MSCI’s ESG Fund Metrics available on its Global Market Intelligence platform. The new inter-company agreement means that Broadridge’s platform, which provides detailed information on 80,000 mutual funds and ETFs globally, will now include ESG-quality scores, sustainable impact, carbon intensity and value alignment scores on every fund tracked by MSCI ESG Research.

A $50m impact investment program has been announced by the US not-for-profit The National Geographic Society. Managed by investment consultant Cambridge Associates, the programme aims to accelerate the organisation’s pursuit of a healthy, more sustainable future through the funding of research, exploration, and education.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has invested €913m in green financing in the first five months of 2017, up from €493m for the same period last year – putting it on course to fulfil its goal of dedicating 40% of its annual investment in climate finance by 2020 as part of its Green Economy Transition programme.

Environmental fund specialist Impax Asset Management has reportedly launched an Australian-domiciled trust in partnership with BNP Investment Partners to invests in resource efficiency companies and environmental markets. The trust, which allows investors to commit as little as $25,000 into the feeder fund, is managed by the Impax ‘Leaders Strategy’ globally.

UK ethical bank Charity Bank, which issues loans to charities and social enterprises, has received £2.5m in investment from Big Society Capital, the UK independent social investment institution. Big Society Capital is also reportedly planning a further £2.5m investment in the bank before the end of the year, fulfilling its pledge to take £14.5m of ordinary shares in the bank.Charity Bank has lent over £180m to charitable organisations since 2002, and has increased its loan book by over 25% in the last two years.

Hong Kong activist investor LIM Advisors is reportedly pushing for Guernsey-based timber investment company, Phaunos Timber Fund, to wind-up its operations amid concerns over poor returns and discounted shares. LIM Advisors, which holds an 11% stake in the firm, has written to shareholders detailing why it will vote against a continuation resolution at the annual general meeting on 19 June. The move comes despite the implementation of a strategy by the fund’s new manager Stafford Timberland, who was appointed in 2016.

Swiss energy, food, and water (EFW) efficiency firm EFW Swiss AG has announced that its EFW Efficiency Fund – which tracks the company’s bespoke EFW Efficiency Index – is up 7.8% this year, and 4.6% up since its inception in 2014. The EFW Efficiency Index is built around the thesis that financial performance is correlated to a company’s energy, food and water efficiency

VicSuper has launched a socially responsible investment option in response to member and employer demand. VicSuper’s Socially Conscious investment option will not invest in fossil fuel companies and will seek to protect human rights, labour rights and the environment. A custom index has been designed for the option, combining the MSCI Global Fossil Fuels Exclusions Index, the MSCI Global Socially Responsible Index and an additional fossil fuel direct activity screen.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is assessing an investment in a new “pan-European renewable energy infrastructure fund” investing in solar photovoltaics, bioenergy, small-scale hydro, onshore and offshore wind, run by Glennmont Partners – one of Europe’s largest fund managers dedicated to clean energy infrastructure.

The EIB is also considering a €100m investment in a housing-focused equity investment platform proposed by Italian investment bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP). The investment platform, structured as a closed-end alternative investment fund, will be managed by CDP Investimenti Società di Gestione del Risparmio and will focus on ‘smart housing’, ‘smart working’, education and innovation in Italy. 

Community Capital Management, a US fixed-income impact investing manager, has added a “positive gender lens component” to its fixed income impact investing strategy by customising mortgage pools that provide capital to low- and moderate-income female borrowers.

Bank of America has invested $250,000 in the Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund, taking it past the $1m mark. The fund, which was launched in 2016 by ‘social good’ crowdfunding platform Kiva, matches individual contributions made by its members to women entrepreneurs through its site. Since 2005 Kiva has reached a total of $1bn in crowdfunded loans.

African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), an affiliate of South Africa’s Old Mutual Alternative Investments, has acquired a 44% stake in Albatros Energy Mali through its AIIF3 fund. The investment will be used to finance a 90MW thermal power station in Kayes, western Mali. AIIM, which currently manages assets of $1.9 billion, is joined in the project by investors such as the West African Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund.