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Responsible Funds Oct. 13: Who’s launching funds and who’s investing?

The latest responsible funds news.

Standard Life Aberdeen is expected to launch a Sustainable Development Goals-focused fund in the coming weeks, RI understands. It will be a global equity fund investing in companies whose impact activities align with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Standard Life Aberdeen came into being in August following the £11bn merger of Scottish fund managers Aberdeen Asset Management and Standard Life. The Sustainable Development Goals fund is a legacy initiative from Standard Life.

Royal London Asset Management, the £106bn UK based fund manager, has launched two new global equity funds aimed at wholesale and institutional investors. The Royal London Global Equity Select Fund will invest in a concentrated portfolio of 25-40 global stocks from both developed and emerging markets, and aims to outperform the MSCI World Net Total Return index by 2.5% per annum. And the second fund, the Royal London Global Equity Diversified Fund, which will be a more diversified portfolio, will invest broadly in line with its benchmark, the MSCI World Net Total Return index. The Diversified Fund will aim to outperform this benchmark by 0.5% per annum. Both funds will be managed by Head of Global Equities Peter Rutter, along with Will Kenney and James Clarke.

Impax Asset Management Group, the $7.3bn London-based sustainable investment specialist, has released its first Environmental Impact Report. The report, independently assured by EY, purports to detail how investing in Impax’s two leading listed equities strategies – Specialists and Leaders – not only provides superior, long-term, and risk adjusted returns but also has a positive environmental impact, quantified as: NET CO2 emissions, renewable energy generated, water saved/treated, or materials recovered/ waste reduced.
Last month RI reported the Group’s $90m bid to acquire Pax World Management, the $4.5bn US fund manager of the Pax World Funds range, and one of the oldest SRI managers in the market with more than 45 years of business.

The €8bn Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) has put $5m (€4.2m) into a data centre provider that has pioneered new environmentally friendly cooling technology. ISIF’s investment will back US-based Nautilus Data Technologies’ expansion into Ireland, IPE reported, citing an official announcement.Northern Trust, the $1tn Chicago based wealth manager, has launched a new ESG “factor-based” investment fund. The Northern Funds US Quality ESG Fund will invest in mid-to-large cap companies that have favourable environmental, social, and governance (ESG) characteristics. The fund will exclude companies involved in tobacco, firearms, and those engaged in controversial ESG business practices.

Foresight Solar Fund, a Jersey-registered independent infrastructure and private equity manager, has acquired three solar farms totalling 117MW in Queensland, Australia, from Canadian Solar. The acquisitions support fund’s international growth strategy and takes its portfolio to 23 assets – representing an expansion of 18% in capacity. This is the third Australian transaction for Foresight in 2017 following the acquisitions of Bannerton and Barcaldine, which increases Foresight’s Australian solar portfolio to 252MW across 5 sites.

The £21.3bn (€23.5bn) Greater Manchester Pension Fund is reportedly in the latter stages of concluding a series of impact investment deals, worth about £100m, which will build roughly 2,000 local homes. The fund GMPF has allocated around £1.1bn towards local infrastructure and impact investments, said a report in Pensions Expert. It has a £750m Greater Manchester Property Venture Fund with the rest of its impact investment capital in its Impact Portfolio, and in the Invest 4 Growth initiative, where it invests alongside others.

Ökoworld, the German alternative asset manager, has launched a new ethical fund espousing ‘love, peace, and performance’ for adults over 50 years old who want to invest in a way that leaves a “lasting positive effect on the environment and society” for their children. The Rock’n’Roll Fund, which has commitments of €48m, invests in securities with a “dynamic yet balanced investment policy”. 

UK investment manager Walker Crips has reportedly partnered with data provider IdealRatings to obtain ESG scores for companies it invests in through its managed portfolio Alpha: r2. The announcement comes as Alpha: r2 also revealed it has become a member of the UK Sustainable and Finance Association (UKSIF), the membership network for sustainable and responsible financial services. Its hoped that the new ESG screen provided by IdealRatings will aid the portfolio’s performance.