Responsible Funds, May 10: Timber, healthcare and nutrition best thematic funds in Q1

The round-up of responsible funds news

Cedrus, the France-based SRI advisory and asset management firm, says that timber, healthcare and nutrition saw the best results over the first quarter in the thematic equities sector. It added: “Growth potential in the smart grid area must not be neglected.” In the period, the Pictet-Timber fund rose by 16% – 5,4% above the MSCI World, Cedrus said, driven by the upturn in the US housing market. And funds exposed to healthcare/well-being, such as the RobecoSAM Sustainable Healthy Living, performed well (exceeding MSCI World by 3.3%). In the water theme, KBC Eco Water was up 13.8% over the quarter.

The board of Impax Asian Environmental Markets has responded to shareholder pressure to close down the investment trust. “It is anticipated that a circular will be sent to shareholders in approximately six weeks’ time setting out the full terms of the proposals, and convening general meetings of the Company at which approval will be sought from Shareholders for implementation of the proposals and for the Company to be placed into liquidation,” said a statement.

The €45.7 Dexia Sustainable World, a subfund of the Dexia Sustainable sicav, has reported an annualized return of 16.2% to the end of March. Over a 10-year horizon, it has made an annualized 5.1%. It invests globally in companies which best integrate environmental, social and governance concerns into their business models and their stakeholder management.

UK-based funds house F&C has held the first close of F&C European Capital Partners II, a European mid-market fund of funds, with commitments of €90m from a range of institutional investors, including UK, Dutch and German pension funds. It’s the successor to F&C European Capital Partners. Link*Australia-based Islamic fund manager Crescent* Wealth has launched what’s described as a new “ultra-ethical, Shariah-compliant superannuation fund”. The company is also in talks with industry super funds to offer the fund as an ethical option, according to a report in Money Management citing Crescent Managing Director Talal Yassine. “We invest in accordance with Islamic investment principles and offer all Australians an attractive alternative in socially responsible investing,” the firm says.

The €8.68m UBS Sustainable Global Leaders fund, which provides access to companies which place an emphasis on sustainability, has returned 13.27% over the one-year basis to the end of March. Sector exposure of the fund is climate change (49.3%), demographics (nutrition/healthcare) (25.8%), sustainable development (13.8%) and water (8.4%). The three largest equity positions are in Nitto Denko Corp., CVS Caremark Corp. and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd.

Dubai-based Asiya Investments has launched its new Asia Islamic Trade Finance Fund, which will invest in Shariah-compliant financing of short-term physical trade flows in Asia and the Middle East. The fund has been approved by a board of leading Gulf and international Shariah. It will be run out of the firm’s new Hong Kong investment management arm in partnership with Singapore-based EuroFin Asia Group.

US-based outdoor clothing company Patagonia has reportedly launched a $20m in-house venture fund to support start-ups in the areas of food, energy, waste and water issues. The $20 Million & Change fund, has been created to help “like-minded, responsible start-up companies bring about positive benefit to the environment,” said founder Yvon Chouinard.