Responsible Funds, March 27: Inflection Point, RobecoSAM, JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche

The round-up of the latest responsible funds news

Inflection Point Capital Management, the boutique headed by Matthew Kiernan, is reportedly to launch a Carbon Zero Global Equities long-only hedge fund. The Sustainability Report, citing Kiernan, said the fund would incorporate the firm’s ‘Strategically-Aware Investing’ principles, investing in a portfolio of companies that have a net zero carbon emissions output.

Assets under management for the RobecoSAM Smart Materials fund have reportedly more than doubled over past year to $340m. Over the last five years, the fund – managed by Pieter Busscher – has returned 53.15% compared to the 8.02% return by the MSCI Materials Index, Hedge Week reported. The fund invests in companies which provide technology, products or services relating to the extraction and efficient handling of raw materials, recycling of used resources and innovative alternative ‘smart’ materials.

Kenya has reportedly launched Africa’s first water fund. Reuters said
it would be a public-private partnership aimed at raising $15m to provide clean water to 9.3m people by protecting the Tana River Basin that supplies Nairobi with water and hydropower. It’s being backed by US charity the Nature Conservancy, which will provide $2 in benefits for every $1 invested, the report added.

Community Capital Management, a Florida-based fixed income investment adviser, has announced plans to invest $100m (€91.2m) in Rural Development Bonds. The firm has invested $7bn (€6.4bn) in community initiatives to date and its new investment initiative will see bonds finance rural community development. Link

Deutsche Bank’s Global Social Finance Group has announced the closing of the Essential Capital Consortium (ECC), a five-year, $50m social enterprise fund, which is part of its family of social impact funds first launched in 2005. Investors include Church Pension Fund, MetLife, Inc., Agence Française de Développement, Deutsche Bank, Calvert Foundation, Prudential Financial, the Multilateral Investment Fund, Left Hand Foundation, IBM International Foundation, Cisco Foundation and the Posner-Wallace Foundation. The fund will provide debt financing to social enterprises in the energy, health and “Base of the Pyramid” financial services sectors.

The UK government intends to commit £200m (€271.6m) of UK climate finance over three years in a pilot joint venture with the country’s Green Investment Bank (GIB) to help develop the UK’s International Climate Fund (ICF). Edward Davey, Secretary of State for energy and climate change, says
the pilot will “aim to demonstrate the commercial viability of low carbon investment and crowding-in of private investment in addition to delivering significant emissions reductions”.

UK-based Aviva Investors has said its Community Fund will provide additional fund to charities and social causes in the UK. According to Aviva, the fund will pay out 362 awards ranging from £1,000 (€1,375) to £25,000. “Anyone in the UK can enter the Aviva Community Fund to nominate a community group, club, charity for one of the 362 awards,” said Heather Smith, Director of Aviva’s UK Direct Business. Aviva also put the amount of additional funding that UK charities say they need at £3,697. Link*Investment bank JPMorgan Chase says it is working* with the UK government to develop a new “multi-million pound fund” to encourage investment into better treatments for dementia. It’s providing financial advice to the government and support for the Dementia Discovery Fund. “We believe J.P. Morgan has a responsibility to put our world-class financial advice and global network to work addressing major social and economic challenges,” said Daniel Pinto, CEO of J.P. Morgan EMEA. Announcement

JPMorgan is also involved in a $10m programme to combat the debilitating tropical disease, river blindness. The Global Health Investment Fund (GHIF) and Medicines Development for Global Health (Medicines Development) have announced a programme for the registration of moxidectin for the treatment of the condition. The GHIF is a private investment fund structured by JPMorgan Chase & Co., the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Lion’s Head Global Partners, which has anchor support from the governments of Canada, Germany and Sweden as well as the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation. Other limited partners include AXA, GlaxoSmithKline, the World Bank’s IFC, Merck, the Pfizer Foundation, Storebrand and a number of individual investors. LHGP Asset Management, the London-based asset management arm of Lion’s Head Global Partners, is the GHIF’s investment manager.

The Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF), a programme of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has announced its first three investments. The DGGF, which invests in socially-focused funds, is backing The GroFin SGB Fund, which provides SME finance in Africa, the IFHA-II which provides growth capital to private healthcare companies in Africa, and The Aavishkaar Frontier Fund that offers finance to SMEs serving low-income people in emerging markets.

Kleinwort Benson Investors, the Ireland-based boutique, says it has just launched, in conjunction with BMO Capital Markets, a new closed-end fund on the Toronto Stock Exchange. It said: “This fund will invest in a portfolio of stocks in the water infrastructure, technology and utilities sectors, selected by the specialist KBI Environmental Equity team.” It also revealed new clients, including the Los Angeles Fire and Police Pension Fund, the Tulare County Employees’ Retirement Association, Fonds de Compensation and the Shetland Islands Pension Fund.

GLS Bank, a German ethical bank, has contributed €22m to a fund which invests in renewable energy projects in southeast Europe. The fund, known as the Green for Growth Fund (GGF), was launched in 2009 by German development bank KfW and the European Investment Bank (EIB). Most of the investors in the €315m fund are publicly-owned finance institutions, including the KfW, the EIB, the International Finance Corporate and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. GLS Bank is the fund’s third private investor, the other two being German microfinance firm Finance in Motion and Sal. Oppenheim, the German private bank which is also the GGF’s manager.