Responsible Funds, November 18: Third close for Green Investment Bank offshore wind fund

The round-up of the latest responsible funds news

The UK’s Green Investment Bank has reached a third, and possibly final close, on its mammoth offshore wind fund. The fund, which is dedicated to investing in offshore wind in the UK in order to leverage private investment into the sector, has an ultimate target of £1bn (€1.16bn). RI understands it has closed the latest round of fundraising at around £920m, with investment from repeat investors Strathclyde Pension Fund, among others. RI also understands that there may be another round of fundraising, if the bank decides it is necessary, or this may be the final close. The Green Investment Bank declined to comment.

Moroccan sovereign wealth fund Ithmar Capital has teamed up with the World Bank to create a fund dedicated to green investment across Africa. The Green Growth Infrastructure Facility for Africa will seek to leverage private capital to help the continent transition into a low-carbon economy. It will work closely with development banks, sovereign wealth funds and private investors to invest in renewables, green transport and water management infrastructure. The fund will include a Public Private Partnership arm to work with governments on originating viable projects for investment, and will also work on minimizing the risks of “marginally non-bankable” projects to attract private investors.

Triodos Bank has reportedly launched a £15m energy efficiency funding pot designed to help UK housing associations tackle fuel poverty among social housing residents. Business Green reports that Bevis Watts, who took over as managing director of Triodos Bank UK in April, said the new initiative was the first of its kind offered by a UK bank and would support the social housing sector in delivering environmental and social benefits.

The UBS Optimus Foundation has launched a new health programme for UBS clients to support philanthropically. The Going Further: a philanthropic health portfolio will aim to deliver result-focused programmes to support children at scale. Projects that will be delivered include door-to-door health services for remote communities and low-cost solar tech to light health clinics at night in poor rural areas.

The Barak Ibdar Shari’ah Trade Finance Fund has been launched by Ibdar Bank, a Bahrain-based wholesale Islamic Investment bank. The fund is launched in partnership with Barak Fund Management. It follows the existing Barak Trade Finance Fund launched in 2009. Since then the fund recorded 168% total return and an average of 13% return to investors per year, said Ahmed Al-Rayes, acting CEO of Ibdar Bank.

Fidelity International’s Eight Roads Ventures has bought into an Indian firm that provides capital financial institutions that serve low-income consumers. Emerging markets private equity specialist LeapFrog Investments says it has made a “successful partial exit” from IFMR Capital as part of a wider deal in which Eight Roads will be investing up to $25M in the company.US-based TriLinc Global Impact Fund has announced that it has approved $24.6m in term loan and trade finance transactions with companies operating in Africa and Latin America. Gloria Nelund, CEO of the impact investor, said: “From supporting the production of critical infrastructure inputs in Morocco to the processing and export of fresh Ecuadorian seafood, TriLinc’s recent investment activity represents how we finance key agricultural and manufacturing industries that drive long-term economic development in Africa and Latin America.”

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), the UK charity, has launched the CAF Investment Account – which is said to be the country’s “first and only” secure, digital trading platform designed for charities of all sizes. It provides access to more than 4,000 funds, including some which are only available to charitable organisations, like Common Investment Funds, (CIFs) and share classes of funds which would not normally be available to small and medium charities. Funds from the following managers are available on the account from launch: FP CAF, CAF UK Equitrack, Sarasin & Partners LLP, M&G Investments, Edentree Investments and Troy Asset Management.

The Islamic Society of North America will divest from fossil fuels, making it the world’s first Muslim body to do so. The move comes as hundreds of faith leaders signed a letter calling for “urgent action” on climate change. “We must deliberately turn away from investing in fossil fuels and we stand together, to call for a collective shift by sovereign wealth funds and public sector pension funds from fossil fuels towards climate solutions,” the letter reads. “This will send a necessary and transformative signal to public and private borrowers and investors worldwide.”

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) has announced that ImpactBase, its online database of impact funds, has reached a milestone of 400 funds. The 400 funds on the platform represent US$31.2bn in committed assets under management and funds with a track record of three years or greater represent almost 40% of the funds on ImpactBase.

The Guardian reports that what’s been described as the UK’s first “green energy” ISA [individual savings account] has gone on sale. The ISA comes from ethical investment platform Abundance which has tied up with Swindon borough council in southern England to create a product allowing the public to invest directly in renewable energy projects, tax free. Abundance says the ISA will invest in Abundance’s solar bonds that will have an estimated average annual rate of return of 6% over its 20-year term, with a minimum investment of £5 (€5.8). Link