Responsible Funds, May 31: New solar fund plans to list on London exchange

The round-up of responsible funds news

Bluefield Solar Income Fund Ltd., a new vehicle focusing on large-scale solar assets, plans to launch an initial public offering on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange. The fund, to be structured as a Guernsey incorporated closed-ended investment company, plans to raise £150m (€175.4m), largely from institutional investors, with trading likely to start early in July. The fund will be chaired by John Rennocks, former executive director of Powergen and British Steel/Corus and current Deputy Chairman of Inmarsat.

Luxembourg-based asset manager SEDCO Capital Global Funds has launched what is claimed to be the first ever Shariah-compliant funds managed according to ESG principles. The SEDCO Capital US Equities Fundamental Indexing Fund and SEDCO Capital Global Higher Dividend Yield Fund are screened for compliance with various international conventions and guidelines and will make use of proxy voting. The funds will be managed by Sweden-based IPM Informed Portfolio Management; they have been incorporated in Luxembourg as a multi-asset class SICAV SIF designed to hold a number of segregated funds.

Net retail sales of ethical funds in the UK was £25m (€29.2m) in April 2013 – the highest since June 2011, according to trade body the Investment Management Association (IMA). It said: “Funds under management were £8.3bn at the end of April 2013. Their share of total funds under management was 1.1%, compared with 1.2% a year earlier.”

The African Development Bank is reportedly in talks with its members to create a huge fund to finance African infrastructure. The Reuters report cited Youssef Ouedraogo, who is an aide to the bank’s president, Donald Kaberuka.Netherlands-based ThinkCapital has launched a sustainable exchange traded fund (ETF) on the NYSE Euronext exchange. The 250-stock fund uses sustainability screening from UK-based research house EIRIS and the launch customer is the Oranje Fonds, the social welfare foundation. Home page

Germany: DZ Bank and its fund subsidiary Union Investment have confirmed its funds are withdrawing from agricultural commodity investment. “As of the beginning of March, both the UniCommodities and Commodities Invest funds at Union Investment have no investments in agricultural commodities,” the bank wrote in an open letter. DZ’s AKZENT Invest Fonds Best Portfolio has also changed its benchmark to ensure it no longer backs agricultural commodities. Link

Canadian mutual fund firm NEI Investments has merged its NEI Ethical Growth Fund into the NEI Ethical Canadian Dividend Fund. The latter will continue to be managed by Calgary based sub advisor QV Investors and will be the largest SRI fund in Canada. NEI said: “In July 2013 pending regulatory approval the Fund will be renamed the NEI Ethical Canadian Equity Fund to more accurately reflect the Fund’s investment profile.”

The $200.1m Aberdeen Global – Responsible World Equity Fund returned 14.09% in 2012, against the 16.54% registered by its MSCI World benchmark. The 48-stock fund employs fundamental company analysis together with environmental, social and governance criteria and its largest holdings are Johnson & Johnson, Roche Holdings and Novartis.

The European Investment Bank is considering a proposed €25m investment in the Ludgate Resource Efficiency Fund II, which targets resource efficiency projects in Europe. The investment is currently “under appraisal”. Link