Responsible Funds, March 10: Ontario Teachers in clean infrastructure partnership

The latest responsible funds news

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has formed a clean energy infrastructure partnership called Anbaric Development Partners with Massachusetts-based Anbaric. It will be headed by the existing Anbaric management. “Through Anbaric, Ontario Teachers’ is committed to funding development costs which are projected to produce $2bn in fully constructed assets,” they said in a joint statement. Potential investments include sophisticated high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission technology and microgrid projects.

BlackRock has launched a new Japanese equity fund, iShares MSCI Japan SRI UCITS ETF (SUJP) offering its clients exposure to Japanese companies with the highest environmental, social and governance (ESG) ratings. The fund, which relies upon data from index provider MSCI, completes Blackrock’s European sustainable exchange traded fund (ETF) range. Blackrock currently manages more than $180bn of assets across ESG integrated and impact funds globally.

The European Supervisory Authorities (The European Banking Authority, the European Securities and Markets Authority and the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority) have released a consultation on draft ‘technical advice’ on how to establish whether a packaged retail and insurance-based investment product (PRIIP) targets specific environmental or social objectives. The EU PRIIPs Regulation has clauses related to defining if investment products target environmental or social objectives, and the European Commission has asked the European Supervisory Authorities to consider what measures are required to ensure this.

Morgan Stanley has unveiled two sustainability strategies, tailored specifically for smaller investors, on its Investing with Impact platform. Launched by the bank’s wealth management unit the two sustainable investment products – Investing with Impact Access Balanced and Investing with Impact Access Equity – offer reduced account minimums of as little as $10,000 to investors. Morgan Stanley’s brokerage group launched similar offerings in 2014 with a minimum investment threshold of $400,000. Link

FTSE Russell says its ESG Ratings data model has been selected by KPMG AZSA Sustainability Co. Ltd, a member firm of KPMG Japan, to enhance their ESG communication services with Japanese companies. FTSE Russell launched its new ESG Ratings data model, which provides underlying environmental, social and governance data on more than 4,100 companies across more than 300 indicators, in December 2016.Hunter Hall International, the Australian listed ethical funds firm, has agreed to merge with Pengana Holdings, the funds management business founded in 2002. The combined entity will have more than A$3bn (€2.1bn) in funds under management; the deal sees an estimated savings of A$6m per annum from back office and occupancy costs. Pengana founder Russel Pillemer will be CEO of the merged entity, which will be chaired by Warwick Negus, former CEO of Colonial First State Global Asset Management and co-founder of 452 Capital. The new group will adopt Hunter Hall’s ethical framework “in its entirety”

UBS, Credit Suisse, Bank Julius Baer and fund data group fundinfo have co-founded Openfunds, a Swiss-based, non-profit association of financial institutions. The association, which emerged from the non-profit initiative of the same name (launched in 2014), aims to establish an industry standard for the interchange and dissemination of fund data.

IFMR Investment Managers, the Chennai-based investment firm, is reportedly seeking to raise $82m for a financial inclusion fund aiming to catalyse the development of financial services in India. Two debt funds, a 10-year, $29m fund and a five-year, $53m fund, will invest in firms offering microfinance, agri-business finance, affordable housing finance, and mid-size companies. IFMR will de-risk the funds by committing 10% of the capital itself as subordinated debt.

Accion International, the US non-profit micro-lending organisation, has raised $141m for its Frontier Inclusion Fund. The fund will invest in ‘fintech startups’ addressing the lack of financial services access for over two billion people worldwide. Accion’s fund, managed by Quona Capital Management, has already invested in nine ventures.

Motif Investing, a US digital wealth and trading innovator, has released a new robo-investing service, Motif Impact Portfolios, offering investors the possibility to align their portfolios with their social values. A recent survey by Motif found that 72% of investors are unaware if their investments hold companies that contradict their personal values and principles.

Index firm S-Network Global Indexes, has launched its Pure-Play Space Index, which tracks the performance of companies primarily engaged in the space industry. The index, which uses analysis from Space Investment Services, provides data and guidance to start-ups, angel investors, and venture capital firms, as well as tracking the performance of publicly traded companies active in space. Link