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Responsible Funds, March 23: Netherlands’ SNS merges sustainable equity fund

The regular round-up of responsible funds news

The Netherlands’ SNS says its SNS Sustainable Equity Fund has been merged with its SNS Euro Equity Fund. It follows a decision in February 2010 to make all SNS funds sustainable. “As a result of this, SNS Sustainable Equity Fund has become comparable to the SNS Euro Equity Fund,” SNS said. Link

There are now 53 funds – with combined assets of $1.9bn – signed up to pioneer the Global Impact Investing Ratings System (GIIRS). Two new investors have joined as GIIRS ‘Pioneer Investors’: Sarona Asset Management and Halloran Philanthropies, taking the number to 17, with a combined $1.7bn in impact assets under management. Web site

The Calvert Global Water Fund has outperformed its benchmark, the S-Network Global Water Index, for the one-year, three-year, and since-inception time periods, the US sustainable funds firm said. The fund, launched in September 2008, is managed by a team headed by portfolio manager Jens Peers of Kleinwort Benson Investors International. Fund profile

The $19.94m GAM Star GEOUSD Equity fund, which invests globally in sustainable companies, has been boosted by its energy efficiency holdings. These include Tenneco, which sells emissions-reduction technologies, and Cummins, which is developing natural gas engines. It was also boosted by the strong performance of cycling components maker Shimano, which is “benefiting from the structural shift to healthier and cheaper modes of transport” says fund manager Paul Udall.

French state investor Caisse des Depots has signed a memorandum of understanding with the government to create an investment fund for social innovation. Funding for the Social Innovation Fund will gradually rise to €15m.The Scottish government has announced a new £103m (€123.2m) investment fund to drive the growth of renewable energy in the country. The Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF) will initially focus on supporting communities and rural businesses to develop their own local renewable projects and on supporting wave and tidal developers. REIF, which will seek to leverage additional finance from other sources, will complement funding from the Green Investment Bank (GIB). Link

Swisscanto’s CHF108.18m (€89.8m) Equity Fund Climate Invest fund, which invests in companies making a contribution to reducing climate change, is backing railways. Its largest positions are in Canadian National Railway Co. (4.74%), Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (4.63%), and East Japan Railway Co. (4.40%). The Luxembourg-domiciled fund has returned 8.58% in the current year, against 6.89% for the benchmark.

Core Innovation Capital, a venture capital firm created by the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), has closed its $45m private equity fund that invests in companies committed to improving the financial security of ‘underbanked’ consumers in the US. Link

DekaBank’s €183.3m Deka-UmweltInvest fund, which invests globally in companies involved in climate conservation, environmental preservation, water, and renewable resources, has had a year-to-date performance of 10.81%, against a benchmark 10.38%. The fund, managed by Michael Schneider, was launched in 2006 and its largest holding is Sulzer AG.

Susanne Kundert, Head of Sustainability Fixed Income at LGT Capital Management, has explained that the LGT Sustainable Impact Global Bond Fund is not invested in Portugal, Greece and the US because of sustainability factors. The comments came in a presentation at Inrate in Geneva.