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Responsible Funds, November 16: UK’s first listed social impact venture capital trust launched

The round-up of responsible funds news

The UK’s first listed social impact venture capital trust (VCT) has been launched by not-for-profit groups FSE Group, the fund manager, and Social Finance, the impact investment intermediary. Social Impact VCT will raise up to £20m of onward investment in social enterprises and socially-motivated businesses. “Social Impact VCT is the first investment vehicle that allows retail investors to invest in businesses that put social impact at the heart of their mission,” they said. An independent non- executive board will consist of John Gregory (chair), Jeremy Delmar-Morgan, Mark Mansley and Jonathan Roe.

FTSE, the index firm, has extended its partnership with one of the US’ biggest property trade associations, the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT), and joined with the US Green Building Council (USGBC) to launch what it says is the first investable green property indexes for institutional and retail investors. The indices, which are in the final stages of implementation, will be based on the existing FTSE NAREIT Index Series, but will include green data such as LEED and Energy Star ratings from USGBC, the non-profit organization which developed the LEED global green building certification program. The green property indexes, which will track listed real estate companies and REITS funds, will incorporate information on over 14,300 LEED and 18,400 Energy Star projects that have received third-party certification. FTSE said the information would give investors a structured and disciplined way to measure and model the risk and reward profile of listed green property exposure.

Ethical funds under management in the UK totalled £7.3bn (€9.1bn) at the end of the third quarter, according to new figures from the Investment Management Association. They continue to account for 1.2% of total funds under management, the IMA said – although there was a net outflow of £33m, the highest ever.Toronto-based solar investment firm Solar Income Fund Inc. is to launch a new Mutual Fund Trust focusing on clean energy power generation assets. The SIF Clean Energy Income & Growth Fund will mostly own solar energy power installation assets backed by long-term Power Purchase Agreements and follows its existing Solar Income Fund Limited Partnerships.

The A$10.6m (€8.6m) Climate Advocacy Fund from Australian Ethical returned 8.9% (after fees) over the quarter to September 30 – outperforming the S&P ASX 200 benchmark by 0.1%. The asset manager said investors in the fund would be receiving a letter shortly, about changes to improve the fund and the “outcomes it achieves”.

US sustainable fund firm Green Century Capital Management says its Green Century Balanced Fund, which is advised by Trillium Asset Management, has received an overall four-star rating from Morningstar in the moderate allocation mutual fund category. The fund is a fossil fuel-free fund and does not invest in oil and gas drilling, extraction or refining. “We are seeing increased interest from investors in divesting from companies primarily involved in fossil fuels,” said Trillium CEO Matthew Patsky.

Germany: fund manager ELAN Capital-Partners is to integrate ESG research from Oekom Research into its Carbon Efficient Bond Funds range. The Bad Homburg-based company invests in bonds issued by companies which are increasing the amount of attention they pay to environmental and climate protection.

US sustainable fund manager Walden Asset Management’s Walden Balanced Fund has been renamed the Walden Asset Management Fund as of October 1, according to a revised fund prospectus. The fund incorporates comprehensive ESG guidelines in portfolio construction. There was also an amendment to the investment strategy relating to money market funds. The aggregate return for the first six months of 2012 was 5.71%.