Responsible Funds, November 23: Canada announces C$750m social finance fund

The latest responsible funds news

Canada’s federal government has announced a new C$755m (€502.8bn) fund for social finance in its Fall Economic Statement. The Social Finance Fund will only support investments that are not yet viable in the commercial market and seek to attract new private sector investment to the social finance sector. More details on the fund will be released next year. It follows a report from Canada’s Social Innovation and Social Finance Strategy Co-Creation Steering Group, which recommended a social finance fund this August.

Dutch postal sector pension fund Stichting Pensioenfonds Post NL, which claims to act “according to the principle of socially responsible investing”, has appointed Kempen Capital Management as its new fiduciary manager. Kempen will oversee the Dutch postal service pension fund’s €8.5bn in assets from the second quarter of 2019.

Sparinvest, the Luxembourg-based asset manager owned by Danish institutional shareholders, has listed the first ever high yield bond on the Luxembourg Green Exchange (LGX), the country’s dedicated green bond platform. Sparinvest SICAV – Value Bonds – Global Ethical High Yield was awarded a LuxFlag ESG label in October, clearing the way for its listing on the LGX. As of May, funds awarded a qualifying SRI rating from a recognised labelling agency, such as LuxFlag, could list on the LGX, following its creation of a dedicated ESG segment.

Mediolanum International Funds, the Irish fund management arm of Italy’s Mediolanum Banking Group, has launched a new active thematic global equities fund with a “sustainable mind-set”. Dutch manager Robeco has been appointed as its delegated portfolio manager, due to its “strong reputation” in ESG. The Mediolanum Innovative Thematic Opportunities fund aims to achieve long term capital appreciation through global exposure to a diversified portfolio of equity securities, including emerging markets.

STOXX, which runs Deutsche Boerse Group’s index business, has launched an ESG version of its Europe 600 Index. Collaborating with Sustainalytics to incorporate a series of exclusions, the STOXX Europe 600 ESG-X Index launched based on asset owner demand for the European benchmark compliant with their responsible investment policy.

The Kampachi Company, an offshore fish farm, has announced the closing of an equity investment from the Althelia Sustainable Ocean Fund (SOF), managed by Mirova Natural Capital. Conservation International and the Environmental Defense Fund are both strategic partners for the SOF to ensure capital is directed to “projects that uphold the highest environmental standards”. The Kampachi Company – which rears King Kampachi, a sashimi-quality marine fish – is targeting its first harvest in late March 2019.Liontrust Asset Management says it underestimated UK demand for sustainable investments and that fund flows into its sustainable investment team have been “significantly higher than expected”. According to Liontrust’s six month report, the sustainable investment team, which joined Liontrust when the manager acquired Alliance Trust Investments, has seen its assets grow from £2.5bn in April 2017 to £3.4bn.

The €1.4bn Church Pension Fund, which represents the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, is looking for an asset manager to run a €55m European ESG equities mandate. The call for proposals, which must be submitted in Finnish, was made on the European tenders portal on November 20.

Brunel Pension Partnership is to invite expressions of interest for a £1.3bn mandate for its forthcoming Emerging Markets Equities sub-fund. The sub-fund will be delivered through the ACS platform Brunel has developed in conjunction with FundRock. The search process starts in January 2019.

Nutmeg, a UK-based online investment manager, has launched 10 socially responsible portfolios with varying risk profiles aimed at retail investors. Base exclusions are in place in all portfolios on tobacco, nuclear weapons and controversial weapons. ESG information for the portfolios will be sourced externally from MSCI.

Dutch Development Bank FMO has invested a further €20m in the Green for Growth Fund, to be used to finance green measures via financial institutions, as well as selected direct investments in projects. The investment brings FMO’s total commitments to the GGF to €60m. Link

New Development Bank – the BRICS multilateral development bank – has reportedly loaned $156m to Brazilian Development Bank BNDES to on-lend to two renewable energy projects. The funding comes from a $300m facility signed in April 2017. The two new projects, which of both are being supported are also getting direct loans from BNDES, are the 326.7MW Campo Largo I wind complex, and the 120MW Pirapora I solar facility.

BlackRock has reportedly launched the iShares Global Green Bond ETF, which provides exposure to “hundreds of investment grade green bonds”, on Nasdaq Exchange. The fund tracks the Bloomberg Barclays MSCI Global Green Bond (USD Hedged) Index, which consists of bonds from governments, supra-nationals, and corporations. Bonds may be issued in any currency. Link