Responsible Funds, March 22: ORIX, Milford, NN Investment Partners, Berenberg, Storebrand

The latest responsible funds developments

ORIX Bank, part of the Japanese conglomerate which owns Robeco, is offering a socially responsible investment fund called the Asahi Life Socially Responsible Investment Fund as well as the Sumitomo Mitsui Dividend Yield Stock Open fund. It said: “Since May 2018, ORIX Bank has been selling three investment trusts that incorporate the investment strategy of Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V., the ORIX Group’s asset management company highly recognized particularly by European institutional investors.” Now it has added two funds that invest in Japanese equities to its line-up. Shinsei Investment Management will manage the products as domestic investment trusts while Robeco will manage the foreign investment trusts included as a fund of funds.

New Zealand-based Milford Asset Management has sold NZ$14m (€8.5m) worth of shares in Facebook in the wake of the live-streamed Christchurch terror attacks, according to a report in the New Zealand Herald quoting company founder Brian Gaynor. Milford also joined the call from government-backed retirement fund managers including NZ Super for Facebook and the other tech giants to monitor content more closely.

The Netherlands’ NN Investment Partners and Dublin-based Irish Life Investment Managers have started to jointly manage a range of sustainable enhanced equity index strategies. These strategies incorporate NN IP’s history of ESG investing together with ILIM’s expertise as a global indexation manager.

IDB Lab, part of the IDB Group comprising the Inter-American Development Bank and others, is calling for Expressions of Interest for a fund manager for a proposed Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) Venture Debt Fund. The IDB Lab will be one of the Fund’s anchor investors in its first closing. The fund, which needs at least $30m in commitments to start operating, would provide smart financing to 20-30 VC-backed start-up and scale-up companies of Latin American and Caribbean countries.

What are being termed ‘smart carbon portfolios’ enable investors to capitalise on a low-carbon transition, without sacrificing returns, according to new research from Imperial College Business School in London. It has produced a framework to help investors differentiate amongst oil & gas majors’ preparedness for a low-carbon energy transition.

A review of Neuberger Berman’s $304bn portfolio has found that there are companies that will have “no real value” under a 2-degree global warming scenario, according to media reports. The investment manager began an investigation to find out how its investments would be affected by climate change last year, hiring three climate scientists. The review found that European companies are better prepared for climate change impacts than their US peers. The risk of heat and wildfire is being underestimated, it also found, saying many US utilities won’t be viable within 15 years.Berenberg, Germany’s oldest private bank with €41.5bn under management, is extending its fund range with a new sustainable equities fund in cooperation with Universal-Investment. Managed by Bernd Deeken, the Berenberg Sustainable World Equities invests in global equities with a focus on sustainability. This makes the fund the third ESG fund of Germany’s oldest private bank, following the Berenberg Sustainable EM Bonds and Berenberg 1590 Stiftung funds launched last year.

Storebrand, Norway’s largest private asset manager, has launched two of its sustainable investment strategies in the UK. Storebrand Global ESG Plus, a fossil-free global equity strategy that tracks the MSCI World Index, has £308m under management and has delivered annualised GBP returns of 5.0% since inception. Meanwhile, Storebrand Global ESG Plus, which combines sustainability with risk factors, has £1.7 billion under management and has delivered annualised GBP returns of 12.1% since inception, 1.4% ahead of the MSCI World Index.

Osmosis Investment Management has reportedly appointed Northern Trust to provide fund administration, foreign exchange algorithmic trading, and liquidity management solutions for its MoRE World Sustainable Market Neutral Fund. The fund takes “long positions in resource-efficient companies, and short positions in inefficient companies across developed markets”, according to Northern Trust.

S&P Dow Jones Indices has launched a new series of Green Real Estate Indices designed to represent real estate companies with a strong track record of sustainability performance. The series consists of: Dow Jones U.S. Green REIT Index, Dow Jones Global Green RESIDow Jones Global ex-U.S. RESI, and Dow Jones Japan Green RESI.

RobecoSAM was appointed official score provider for the ESG indexes of the Mexican Stock Exchange (BMV Group) provided by S&P Dow Jones. RobecoSAM is replacing the University of Anahuac and its associated body the Mexican Center for Excellence in Corporate Governance, which were managing the S&P/BMV IPC Sustainable Index.

RobecoSAM is also a partner in the Dow Jones Sustainability MILA Pacific Alliance Index, tracking the performance of companies from Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. MILA stands for Mercado Integrado Latinoamericano, which integrates the stock exchanges of these four countries along the Pacific coast.

Banking giant BNY Mellon has launched a range of reporting tools that will enable clients to track their portfolios based on ESG and UN Global Compact principles, using data sourced through an agreement with Arabesque S-Ray.

Sparinvest has bagged a €536m passive mandate with sustainability requirements at Danish pension fund AP Pension. Managed by Sparinvest’s credit bonds team, the mandate invests in sovereign bonds issued by emerging markets. Link