Responsible Funds, May 3: Asian Development Bank, Baillie Gifford, Greencoat, Morningstar

The latest responsible funds developments

Unshackled Ventures, a venture capital firm which provide immigrant entrepreneurs the funds and expertise to secure US visas, has announced a $20m fund backed by Bloomberg, Jerry Yang AME Cloud Ventures and Emerson Collective. This is Unshackled Ventures’ second fund after it launched at $4.5m fund in 2015 which invested in 31 companies, with a 100% success rate in securing visas.
Ireland, in partnership with the Asian Development Bank, has established the Ireland Trust Fund for Building Climate Change and Disaster Resilience in Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Ireland’s first single donor trust fund will provide €12m from 2019 to 2024 to support activities such as “financing climate-proof infrastructure, helping countries plan for and respond to climate change, and leveraging global climate resources for mitigation and adaptation efforts”.
Baillie Gifford has launched the Responsible Global Equity Income Fund – billed as the first of its kind in the global equity income sector – which aims to achieve a higher level of income than its benchmark, the FTSE All World Index. Selection of stocks will take into account the UN Global Compact principles which may result in increased volatility due to exclusions of certain sectors.
The Montanaro Better World Fund outperformed the MSCI World SmidCap Index by 4% in its first year, and saw a strong start to 2019 with NAV up 27% to end of April. The fund, awarded the SRI Label by the French Finance Ministry, stands at £130m (€150m), with “plenty of capacity”, according to the asset manager.
Heartwood Investment Management – the UK asset management arm of Handelsbanken – has reported that its sustainable strategies have performed better than its core Balanced and Growth asset strategies over the last three years. Its Model – Balanced Sustainable strategy returned 23.1%, compared to the Model – Balanced, which gave a total return of 20.6%. The Model – Growth Sustainable returned 30%, to the Model – Growth’s 28%.
*Renewable infrastructure fund Greencoat *UK Wind is to issue more shares. Under its latest programme, the company can issue up to 500 million new ordinary shares through a number of tranches over the next 12 months. The prospectus relating to the Share Issuance Programme is expected to be published shortly.
Morningstar Investment Management Europe has launched the Morningstar ESG Managed Portfolios. The series of five multi-asset portfolios are orientated towards more sustainable companies by selecting funds with a high Morningstar Sustainability Rating and low Morningstar Portfolio Carbon Risk Score. The range will be available on the Standard Life Wrap platform.
Epworth Investment Management, the UK investment manager for churches and charities, has launched two new ethical investment funds. The Epworth Global Equity Fund for Charities and the Epworth Multi-Asset Fund for Charities are structured as Charity Authorised Investment Funds and available to all UK charities and are designed to ensure their long-term investment objectives are met, in a way that is consistent with Christian values.UK Climate Investments (UKCI), a £200m pilot investment programme mandated to invest in India and sub-Saharan Africa, has agreed to invest £30m in CleanMax Solar, one of India’s leading providers of renewable energy. UKCI’s commitment will further CleanMax Solar’s plans to expand its network of private solar farms across the country. UKCI, a joint venture between the Green Investment Group (formerly the Government-owned UK Green Investment Bank, before it was acquired by Macquarie) and the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, is managed by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets.
KBC Bank, Ireland’s “digital-first” bank, has launched SRI versions of KBC Asset Management’s flagship funds for consumers in Ireland. Using the UN Global Compact principles as a guide, the funds screen for companies that fall short of KBC’s SRI standards, and track individual principles within those companies to assess performance and specific targets in relation to sustainability, climate change and corporate social responsibility initiatives.
MPC Capital, an international asset and investment manager, has reached financial close for the acquisition of Tilawind, a 21 MW operational wind farm in Costa Rica. This is the second acquisition for the MPC Caribbean Clean Energy Fund, MPC Capital’s investment platform for renewable energies in the CARICOM region.
Franklin Templeton has launched what it says is the first actively-managed Euro Green bond ETF for European investors, listed on the Deutsche Börse, Borsa Italiana and the SIX Swiss Exchange. Managed by London-based David Zahn, head of European Fixed Income, and Rod MacPhee, portfolio manager, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group, the new Franklin Liberty Euro Green bond Ucits ETF provides exposure to bonds supporting projects that are aligned to a low-carbon future.
Germany-based asset manager Luxcara has invested in one of Europe’s largest onshore wind projects. Luxcara bought the Önusberget wind farm in Sweden, part of the Markbygden 1101 cluster, from developer Svevind. Luxcara expects to begin construction activities in 2019 and achieve commercial operation of the project by the end of 2021.
London-based investment manager Guinness Asset Management has renamed its Alternative Energy Fund as the Guinness Sustainable Energy Fund to reflect “the fact that ‘alternative’ energy technologies are now part of the mainstream global energy mix”. Guinness Global Energy Fund managers Will Riley and Jonathan Waghorn join existing manager, Edward Guinness as co-managers of the Sustainable Energy Fund alongside the $350m Global Energy Strategy.
Professional fund buyers favour active management despite market volatility and uncertainty, according to a new survey of 200 fund buyers carried out by Natixis Investment Managers. The survey found that two thirds of those surveyed believed actively managed investments would outperform in the long run. Two-thirds also said they plan to increase their allocation to ESG strategies in 2019.