Responsible Funds, Oct. 18 BNP Paribas, Pensioenfonds ING, RWC, Groupama, Sycomore, Amundi

The latest responsible funds news

BNP Paribas Asset Management has been appointed by UK auto-enrolment workplace pension scheme Nest to manage a diversified private credit fund. Financial terms were undisclosed, though Nest earlier announced an initial 12-month commitment of around £400-500m (€462-577m) to the asset class. Philip Dawes, Head of Sales UK & Ireland at the asset manager said: “This mandate will invest in each asset class according to the ESG principles established by our Global Sustainability Centre, as well as incorporating forms of impact investing such as UK SME loans”. It follows Nest’s earlier appointment of Amundi and BlackRock to private credit mandates last month.

Pensioenfonds ING, one of the largest corporate pension schemes in the Netherlands with invested capital of around €28bn, has selected Robeco as a partner for its sustainable investments policy. The asset manager will advise the fund in the fields of policy, legislation and regulations, carry out voting and engagement activities and provide ESG screening and reporting activities. The now-closed scheme pays out to current and former employees of ING Bank and NN Group who accrued pensions until 2014.

Gresham House, the alternative asset manager, has announced the interim close of its British Strategic Investment Fund (BSIF) with £200m in capital commitments, including new contributions of £35m from the Greater Manchester Pension Fund and Greater London Authority who join cornerstone investors, the Royal County of Berkshire Pension Fund and Teesside Pension Fund. BSIF, which is expected to close in the first quarter of next year, invests in UK housing and infrastructure, a key priority area for the government.

RWC Partners’ Defensive Convertible fund has been renamed the RWC Sustainable Convertibles fund to better reflect a focus on ethical and sustainable investing. The unconstrained fund, run by the UK firm’s convertible issues head Davide Basile, is not benchmarked to an index and ESG is integral to evaluating bottom-up fundamental characteristics of issuers.

Amundi has licensed Solactive’s Smart City Index, which provides exposure to 200 companies best positioned to leverage on the development of smart cities, for its Amundi Smart City UCITS ETF. The index classifies constituents into six equally weighted categories: Public Infrastructure, Technology, Healthcare, Smart Homes, e-Commerce, and Entertainment and is re-balanced quarterly.Groupama Asset Management, the French asset manager with €100bn under management, has launched a Sicav to host its range of thematic ESG funds focusing on socially-responsible investing and megatrends. The Groupama Fund Generations Sicav currently has a total of €300m worth of assets across three funds: Future for Generations, Global Green Bonds and Credit Euro ISR, and aims to accumulate €1bn in assets by 2020.

US Solar Fund (USF), a London-listed investor in US solar that is run by New Energy Solar Manager, which is a subsidiary of Sydney-based Walsh & Company Asset Management, is to acquire a c39MW operating utility-scale solar power portfolio consisting of eight projects in North Carolina. The seller is Greenbacker Renewable Energy Corporation and all projects are currently operating and selling electricity under their respective long-term power purchase agreements.

FTSE Russell has added North American and developed APAC coverage to its FTSE4Good Index Series, which aims “measure the performance of companies demonstrating strong ESG practices”. The product range now includes FTSE4Good North America Index and FTSE4Good Developed Asia Pacific Index.

Sycomore Asset Management, the French boutique manager, has launched a Luxembourg-domiciled ESG version of its Next Generation fund. The balanced, wealth-management strategy offers a 0-50% exposure to global assets and a 0-100% exposure to bonds and incorporates “extra-financial criteria and overweights companies whose ESG criteria are consistent with the objective of sustainable growth”.

Clean Energy Ventures (CEV), an investor in early-stage advanced energy start-ups, has closed its first fund at $110m. The Clean Energy Venture Fund invests in “technologies and business model innovations in the U.S. and Canada that are ready to be scaled and commercialized, and that have the potential to significantly mitigate global greenhouse gas emissions”. CEV’s board is chaired by former United States Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and includes Ellen Williams, former Chief Scientist of BP.

Albright Capital, the emerging markets private markets firm chaired by former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, has announced that London-based investment firm Goodhart Partners has acquired a minority stake. The investment was made through the Volunteer Park Capital Fund which forms strategic partnerships with boutique private capital managers.