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Responsible Funds & Indices, May 3: Innovative women’s SRI equity fund launched

The round-up of responsible funds news

The Global Women’s Equity Fund (GWEF) is a new Canadian mutual fund designed to “appeal to socially responsible investors, mainly women, who are looking to promote concepts and ideals that they feel strongly about”. It comes from Toronto-based Global Women Equity Corp., which said GWEF will invest globally in listed companies that have demonstrated their support for women’s causes and are leaders in promoting gender equality in the workplace.

The £304m (€361.3m) First State Global Emerging Markets Sustainability Fund managed by David Gait and Millar Mathieson posted a 25.1% return in 2012, while its MSCI Emerging Markets benchmark gained 13.0%. Since launch the fund, whose investment process takes account of sustainability themes and issues and “requires positive engagement with companies”, has returned 129.2%. Link

Swiss-based private equity firm Adveq says it has taken its environmental, social and governance (ESG) assessment of its fund of fund vehicles to “a deeper level” by undertaking portfolio company-level analysis. It builds on its existing ESG screening processes at the fund manager level and will supplement the qualitative analysis the firm already carries out, it said.

Canadian financial giant Investors Group has announced a series of fund mergers. Among the changes: the Investors Summa Global SRI fund will merge into its Investors Global Fund; the Investors Summa Global SRI class will merge into Investors Global Class.

F&C Investments is planning to launch an equity fund targeting smaller companies worldwide, according to reports. The Luxembourg-domiciled fund, the F&C Global Smaller Cap Equity fund, will be managed by Catherine Stanley, who already runs the fund manager’s UK Smaller Companies offering.Sustainable banking group Triodos has launched two SRI funds for UK retail investors. The funds are called the Sustainable Pioneer Fund and the Sustainable Equity Fund. Triodos also offers a Microfinance fund for high net worth and “sophisticated” investors. The SRI funds are run by Triodos Investment Management and have been available in Europe for more than 15 years.

Indices

News and data giant Thomson Reuters has launched a new family of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) indices. The Thomson Reuters Corporate Responsibility Indices were developed with S-Network Global Indexes, a New York based index specialist. “Responsible investing is rapidly becoming central to the investment processes of large-scale owners of capital around the world and these indices serve as rational benchmarks for measuring ESG performance,” said Jason du Preez, the firm’s global head of indices. The new indices are based on the company’s ASSET4 ESG database.

The £402m Jupiter Ecology Fund has become the first to adopt index provider FTSE’s new ET100 Environmental Technologies offering. The new index adds to London Stock Exchange-owned FTSE’s Environmental Markets Series.
A new Shariah index has been launched by the Bombay Stock Exchange and S&P Dow Jones Indices. The S&P BSE 500 Shariah index is the first new index to come from a partnership formed between the pair in February, and is designed to represent all Shariah-compliant stocks of the broad S&P BSE 500 index. Screening will be carried out by Ratings Intelligence Partners, the London/Kuwait-based consulting company. Announcement