Responsible Funds, May 25: Green Investment Bank names chairman

The round-up of responsible fund developments

The UK government has announced the official formation of the Green Investment Bank company – and named its top directors. Robert Smith (Lord Smith of Kelvin), the former vice chairman of Deutsche Asset Management who chairs Scottish & Southern Energy, will chair the new bank. Sir Adrian Montague, chair at 3i and Anglian Water, was named as Deputy Chair. Announcement

Australian Ethical’s Climate Advocacy Fund has returned 5.7% in the three months to the end of April, against a 4.6% return from the benchmark, the S&P/ASX 200. Since inception, the return is 3.1% (benchmark: 1.9%). The fund aims to improve corporate behaviour, performance and sustainability through engaging with companies on environmental, social and governance issues related to climate change. Link

Vontobel’s Sustainable Global Equity fund returned 13.2% in the first quarter of 2012, against an 11.6% benchmark return. It said the outperformance was due to a positive return from stock selection in consumer staples (Henkel), energy (Petrofac), financials (Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase), and IT (Apple, Samsung Electronics, Broadcom and LAM Research). It is reviewing its remaining exposure to France’s Vivendi.

The Co-operative Asset Management’s £82.5m CIS Sustainable World Trust has reported a 6.8% return on a one-year basis, compared to a sector median of -2.4%. Since launch in 2009, the fund has returned 26.1% (median: 14.9%). The fund, managed by Mike Fox, has sold out its position in US waste company Republic Services after a disappointing trading update.

The European Investment Bank says it is appraising a €30m investment in Dasos Capital’s Luxembourg-based Timberland Fund II, which targets sustainable forestry and biomass investments mainly in Europe.The Jupiter China Sustainable Fund has added to its core holdings of environmental protection company China Everbright International and industrial gas maker Yingde Gases in April. It also sold out of insurer AIA after a period of good performance. Over the past 12 months, the Jupiter China Sustainable Growth Sicav has fallen 26.0% in US dollar terms, compared to a 9.4% decline for its benchmark, the MSCI Zhong Hua index.

Aqua Resources Fund Ltd., the water-focused London-listed closed ended investment scheme managed by FourWinds Capital Management, says it is considering migrating to another exchange after it emerged it is in breach of listing rules. It is consulting with its core shareholders. Link

Frankfurter Bankgesellschaft’s FBG 4Elements – Air fund has gained 8.76% in value since the beginning of the year. The fund invests in technologies to prevent the release of climate gases to the atmosphere. Other funds in the family cover Earth, Fire and Water.
The €44m SAM Sustainable Global Active Fund has sold its position in US industrial group Johnson Controls. The Luxembourg-based equity fund invests globally in companies that are sustainability leaders.

BlackRock New Energy Trust Plc, the clean energy investor, had just 6.1% of its portfolio exposed to renewable energy technology companies as at the end of April. It added its “limited” exposure to companies such as Vestas, EDP Renovaveis and Abengoa still detracted from performance. “The outlook for these companies is clouded by increased austerity, particularly in European markets. Our exposure to this sector is focused on cost, technology and market leaders,” BNET said in a portfolio update.

Global Echo, the new US sustainable exchange traded fund (ETF) from Maryland-based AdvisorShares, will have custody services, fund accounting and administration provided by BNY Mellon.