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Responsible Funds, March 15: Nordea AM, DWS, Varma, BlackRock and more

The round-up of the latest responsible funds developments

Scottish Borders Council Pension Fund has become the first UK Local Authority Pension Fund to invest in Morgan Stanley Investment Management’s (MSIM) Global Sustain Strategy. Launched in 2018, the Global Sustain strategy is managed by MSIM’s International Equity team and offers the opportunity to invest in companies that are tobacco-free, alcohol-free and free of fossil fuels.
Lyxor Asset Management’s Lyxor Green Bond (DR) UCITS ETF has become the first ETF to receive the TEEC – the French Government fund certification of commitment to financing the green economy, and the ecological and energy transition.
CPR Asset Management has expanded its fixed-income range with the launch of CPR Invest – Smart Beta Credit ESG Fund. Managed by Fanny Jacquemont, the fund will invest in euro-dominated investment grade credit bonds, excluding companies with the worst ESG scores overall, and for specific criteria.
Lipper is reportedly planning to roll out an ESG scoring system for mutual funds. The rating system, which has been in the works for more than two years, won’t launch until the end of this year at the earliest, according to media reports.
Private equity veteran Jan Stahlberg has left EQT, the private equity giant he co-founded, to set up his own impact investment fund, according to the Financial Times. Stahlberg has raised €300m-€500m from Nordea for the vehicle, which will only buy firms that are compliant with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
BlackRock has launched six new ESG ETFs, known as equity iShares ESG Enhanced ETFs. They seek to improve portfolio ESG profiles and reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions by 30%, while maintaining a target tracking error to mainstream benchmarks.
DWS, the asset management arm of Deutsche Bank, has added another ESG ETF to its line up. The Xtrackers MSCI USA ESG Leaders Equity ETF, developed in partnership with Finnish pension insurer Ilmarinen, tracks the MSCI USA ESG Leaders Index – a cap-weighted index that provides exposure to companies with high ESG performance for their sector. The fund is significantly exposed to the technology sector.Vanguard has hired Wellington Management as the subadvisor for its first actively-managed ESG fund, according to media reports. Vanguard Global ESG Select Stock Fund, which will aim to outperform the FTSE All-World index, is expected to be available for investment in coming months.
Nordea Asset Management has reportedly launched a new gender-focused fund. The Nordea 1 – Global Gender Diversity Fund, which will be managed by Julie Bech and Audhild Asheim Aabø, will invest in a universe of 1,700 companies with strong gender diversity. Stocks are then screened for convention qualities like liquidity, valuation, growth, quality and earnings.
The Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) has certified two Legg Mason investment funds as Certified Responsible Investments – the Legg Mason Martin Currie Ethical Income Fund and the Legg Mason Martin Currie Ethical Values with Income Fund.
UBS has seeded the launch of an ethical investment strategy run by BMO’s head of sustainable equities, Jamie Jenkins. The BMO SDG Engagement Global Equity fund will contain 40-60 small and mid-sized companies where there is a “clear opportunity for SDG-linked engagement”.
KLP has reportedly launched the first Norwegian fund to carry the Nordic Swan Ecolabel, which will consist of at least 90% ESG screened companies. Investment funds labelled by the Nordic Swan Ecolabel – originally used on household products like laundry detergent – must meet 25 mandatory requirements that govern the various ways a fund can impact companies.
UK sustainability specialist Impax Asset Management has won a client mandate to provide investment management services to a Luxembourg-based client of BNP Paribas Asset Management France.
Finland’s Varma Mutual Pension Insurance Company and the asset management arm of S-Bank have become the first firms in their country to back the Tobacco-Free Finance Pledge. The pair already exclude tobacco from their direct investment portfolios, but say they have joined the initiative “to raise awareness among financial institutions of the essential role they play in promoting anti-tobacco policies in the sector”.