Responsible Funds, May 17: European RI funds now at €237.9bn, says Luxembourg’s ALFI

The round-up of responsible funds & indices news

Assets under management at European responsible investing funds have grown by 19% since 2010 to €237.9bn, according to a survey for Luxembourg fund industry association ALFI conducted by consultants KPMG. The RI fund universe in Europe identified comprises 1,775 funds. The 64-page survey, now in its second year, found that environmental themed assets declined by 10.5% to €28.1bn. There are now 75 Sharia-compliant and 44 impact investment funds in Europe.

The Luxembourg Stock Exchange says it plans to launch a socially responsible investing index. The “Lux RI Fund Index” will be published daily from July 1 and will track the performance of funds active in responsible investing.

Australia-based financial planning firm Ethinvest says its ASX50 screened index fund has returned 39.76% in the year to the end of March – compared to a 23.11% gain for the S&P/ASX50 Accumulation Index. The fund applies a proprietary screen across the S&P/ASX50 component companies. Chatswood, New South Wales-based Ethinvest, founded by Ross Knowles, founding co-president of the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia, offers ethical financial planning and investment advice to individuals and a wide range of NGOs and charitable foundations. Link

US industrialist John Coors, head of ceramics producer CoorsTek, is planning a $300m private equity-type impact investment fund to invest in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Financial Times. The FT said the ‘One Thousand & One Voices’ (1K1V) project was launched at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town.Live Aid founder Bob Geldof’s new $200m African private equity fund has made its first investment, according to a Reuters report. 8 Miles – named after the shortest distance between Europe and Africa – is backing a start-up company that plans to build commodity exchanges across the continent and improve food security alongside Morgan Stanley and the International Finance Corporation. They are providing $5m of seed capital in eleni LLC, co-founded by Eleni Gabre-Madhin, the ex-head of the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange. 8 Miles has a code for responsible investing, meaning it will invest in a socially responsible way and also expect similar standards of conduct from portfolio companies.

The new US$150 Singapore-based Armstrong South East Asia Clean Energy Fund has made its first investment for six solar power plants in Thailand with Hong Kong-based Symbior Energy to deliver a combined capacity of 30MW to the Thai national grid. The solar projects in the portfolio comprise an operational 1MW solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant in Northeast Thailand and five solar PV power plants in late-stage development totalling 29 MW located in the central provinces of Chachaengsao, Prachin Buri, and Nakan Sawan.

Two new “high conviction”, concentrated portfolio equity funds have been launched recently. Natixis Global Asset Management’s Loomis Sayles US Leaders fund equity fund features a 30-35 stock portfolio and low turnover. It has around $5m seed money from Aberdeen Asset Management and will be managed by Aziz Hamzaogullari. And Allianz Global Investors’ new Europe Equity Growth Select fund will feature a 30-45 stock portfolio and be managed by Thorsten Winkelmann and Matthias Born.