Responsible Funds, November 20: Triodos, ACTIAM, EBRD, ETHO, Incapital, EIB

The round-up of the latest responsible funds news

Triodos, the sustainable banking specialist, is to launch a new impact investment fund for private investors. The Triodos Multi Impact Fund, the first Triodos ‘fund-of-funds’ will launch on December1 and invest in a “broad array of sectors that stimulate the transition to a more sustainable society”. Topics include sustainable trade, inclusive finance, renewable energy, arts & culture, and organic food and agriculture. The fund will initially only be distributed by Triodos Bank and Rabobank; it will be managed by Triodos Investment Management.

Dutch pension funds have backed an SME fund from ACTIAM, according to reports. Industry site Microcapital Brief said the ACTIAMFMO SME Finance Fund, managed by Netherlands-based investment firm Actiam and the FMO development bank, recently closed at approximately €150m. Transport fund Pensioenfonds Vervoer was a new entrant, it said, adding that existing investors, Spoorwegpensioenfonds and Stichting Pensioenfonds Openbaar Vervoer increased their commitments by “unspecified amounts”. The fund was launched in 2013 to offer debt funding for small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), together with partners, is launching a $250m financing framework for private sector renewable energy generation in Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia and Jordan. The first project under the new programme is expected to be the 120MW Khalladi wind farm near Tangiers in Morocco, one of the first private renewable projects in the country, the signing of which is expected in the near future. Under the framework, two international funds will invest alongside the EBRD: the Climate Investment Funds’ Clean Technology Fund (CTF) will provide up to $35m, and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) of up to $15m; of concessional financing which will not exceed 10% of any single project.

ETHO, claimed to be the world’s first “diversified, socially responsible and fossil-free exchange-traded fund” (ETF), has been launched on the New York Stock Exchange by investment management company Etho Capital, in partnership with Factor Advisors, a subsidiary of ETF Managers Group and with input from Trucost. The ETHO ETF is based on the Etho Climate Leadership Index (ECLI), an index of 400 companies and is part of a series of financial products that will be released by Etho Capital, which is “dedicated to taking sustainable investing mainstream”.

The European Investment Bank is appraising a €5m investment in the Luxembourg Microfinance and Development Fund – Social Venture Capital sub fund. It is a specialised microfinance investment vehicle targeting tier-2 microfinance institutions in developing countries offered by Appui au Développement Autonome, a nonprofit organization based in Luxembourg.Incapital, the Chicago-based finance house, has launched the Nuveen TIAA ESG Global Dividend Portfolio, a new two-year equity unit trust that seeks to provide capital appreciation and current income by investing in high-quality dividend paying companies while incorporating certain environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria in the security selection process. This trust can serve as a core equity allocation and is the latest trust to join Incapital’s Legacy platform. “We are bringing this portfolio to market to satisfy increasing demand from investors wishing to have a quality portfolio option in the ESG space,” said John Browning, Managing Director of Incapital Unit Trusts.

Big Society Capital has teamed up with Macmillan, a UK-based cancer charity, to launch a new £12m (€17.1m) fund for the sake of people afflicted by cancer or other long-term illness. According to the Civil Society website, the pair have each contributed £6m to the social investment fund, known as the ‘Care and Wellbeing Fund.’ It will provide loans and other investment to charities that are “looking to develop or scale up means of solving community problems for people with long-term illness,” Civil Society said. It added that the fund’s inaugural investment was in a project designed to alleviate loneliness and isolation in Worcestershire, central England.

The board of the European Investment Bank (EIB) has approved €12bn in finance to support several projects, including housing for refugees, loans to small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) and some under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) initiative. In a statement, the EIB said €120m of the finance package would be used for accommodation for refugees and other asylum-seekers in eastern Germany. Through local partner banks, another €3.2bn will go to SMEs in six EU member states as well as Georgia and Turkey. Seven projects under the EFSI initiative are also being funded, among them one involving biogas and another providing support for funds that target environmental and climate projects across Europe.

The € 286.2m RobecoSAM Sustainable Healthy Living Fund has closed its position in US discount retailer Dollar Tree over integration concerns over the acquisition of fellow retailer Family Dollar. Overall, the fund “underperformed the broader market, which is not surprising given a ca. 70% skew towards more defensive consumer and health care sectors” it said in its investor update. The fund invests worldwide in companies which provide technology, products and services in the sectors of food, health and physical activities as well as physical and mental well-being.