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Responsible Funds, Oct. 28: the round-up of ESG funds news

RI fund launches, closes and asset data.

Six new investment funds aiming to inject $875m (€617.5m) into the impact investing sector have been boosted by a “historic” commitment from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the US development finance institution. The OPIC Board has approved $285m support for the funds – its largest commitment to impact investing in emerging markets to date. “This is a watershed day in the evolution of impact investing,” said OPIC President and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield. The six funds are: Investment Fund for Health in Africa II (IFHA II), Latin Idea, ManoCap, MPOWER Ventures, Sarona and Terra Bella. OPIC Announcement

Fifteen investment funds with more than $550m in assets under management have committed to the new Global Impact Investing Ratings System (GIIRS). The system, launched last month, offers a third-party verified assessment of companies’ and funds’ social and environmental impact. ‘Pioneer’ funds include: Adobe Social Mezzanine Fund I LP, Bellwether Microfinance Fund, Catalyst Microfinance Investors, Glenmont Capital II, IIP India Health Fund I, India Financial Inclusion Fund, InReturn I, Investeco Sustainable Food Fund, L.P., Mergence I, Paradox Fund, Próspero Microfinanzas Fund, SJF III, SocialAlpha-Bastion, Vox Impact Investing Fund I, and WillowTree Fund. Announcement

US-based fund giant Vanguard Asset Management has launched sterling-denominated versions of two of its UCITS III socially responsible investing funds, the Vanguard SRI Global Stock fund and the Vanguard SRI European Stock fund. The funds exclude companies which breach the UN Global Compact and also those involved in anti-personnel weapons, nuclear weapons or cluster bombs. Link

A new natural resources fund set up by three former Brevan Howard Asset Management traders has raised $100m (€70m), according to reports. Tim Whyte, Carl Linderum and Ben Belldegrun have yet to name their new firm, reports FINalternatives.A tailor-made $160m microfinance fund for a Swiss pension fund that was set up earlier this year has lifted social investment firm responsAbility’s assets under management above the $1bn mark. The fund will be comprised of promissory notes and other fixed income securities denominated in USD, EUR, or hedged and unhedged local currencies, responsAbility said.

Paris-based PhiTrust’s Proxy Active Investors fund has outperformed France’s CAC40 blue-chip index this year, despite the downward market, according to the manager. The ESG activist fund, which invests solely in CAC40 companies returned -16,57% to the end of September with the CAC40 returning almost 3% less, including dividend reinvestment. The fund also showed lower volatility, PhiTrust said.

A new fund targeting India’s eight poorest states has had a $50m anchor investment from CDC, the UK’s development finance institution. The Pragati Venture and Incubator Fund – founded by investment banker Narayanan Shadagopan – will invest and “play an active role” in developing companies in the healthcare, infrastructure, energy and education sectors. CDC home page

Future Capital Partners, the alternative investment boutique with £6bn (€6.8bn) in assets under management, has launched a second fund targeting renewable energy. Elara II is an enterprise investment scheme (EIS) that will aim to raise at least £4m. It’s expected to close in December.

Investment manager Global Fund Exchange Ltd.’s Earth Wind & Fire Fund is now available in Swiss Franc and Singapore Dollar denominated classes. The fund invests in clean energy, water, agriculture, natural resources and carbon & emissions. Oyster Bay, New York-based Global Fund Exchange has more than $2bn in assets under management.

3i, the London-listed private equity firm, is to target Indian social infrastructure, according to reports. Its second Indian infrastructure fund currently being raised will widen its remit to include education and healthcare, said a report in trade journal Infrastructure Investor. Link