Responsible Funds, October 11: Pension funds back Bridges’ new Sustainable Growth Fund

The round-up of sustainable funds news

UK-based social investment group Bridges Ventures has announced the successful final close of its third Sustainable Growth Fund with equity commitments of £125m (€147m), above its original £100m target. It has the backing of a number of leading institutional investors, Bridges said. They included existing investors Royal London Asset Management, HSBC, West Midlands Pension Fund and South Yorkshire Pensions Authority. New investors include the European Investment Fund (EIF), London Pensions Fund Authority, Merseyside Pension Fund, and Flintshire County Council.

Allied Irish Banks (AIB) is to administer a €200m fund to finance wind farm projects in Ireland, according to a report in the Irish Times. Funding will come jointly from the European Investment Bank and AIB and financing will be available for up to 15 years. The money will be available to fund projects of up to 75MW/€75m, the paper reported. Citing AIB’s director of personal, business and corporate banking, Bernard Byrne, it added the bank intends to invest €1bn in renewable energy and energy conservation projects by 2017.

Kawa Solar Partners, LP, a Cayman Islands-registered pooled private equity fund that’s a subsidiary of Florida-based investment firm Kawa Capital Management, has raised $35.3m from 21 undisclosed investors, according to a filing at the Securities and Exchange Commission. The minimum investment was $500,000. Kawa has this year bought parts of German solar firm Conergy that filed for protection from creditors in July.

The £104.79m BlackRock New Energy Investment Trust, the UK-listed vehicle that invests globally in companies which have a significant focus on alternative energy or energy technology, says it “took profits” in a number of renewable energy developers in September while increasing its position in an unnamed engineering and construction company. Net asset value (NAV) rose by 2.5% in the month, compared to a 0.1% return for the MSCI World Index. The WilderHill New Energy Global Innovations, an index that is representative of the sector, returned 5.7%.French SRI organisation Novethic has awarded its SRI label to 104 funds, including for the first time European funds which are not licensed for marketing in France. The label aims to guide investors in selecting sustainable financial products. New this year is Novethic’s Green Fund Label, the first label of its kind in France for green environmentally-themed funds, which has been awarded to six funds.

Krishnamurthy Vijayan, the former executive chairman of JP Morgan Asset Management India, has launched an impact investment fund called Charioteer Fund-I, according to a report in the Economic Times of India. The five-year INR2.5bn (€29.5m) vehicle will invest in the country’s “livelihood and skills development space”.

Guinness Asset Management, the London-based firm which traces its origins to Guinness Flight Global Asset Management, has reportedly launched a new enterprise investment scheme (EIS) fund that will invest in UK sustainable energy companies. Guinness EIS 5 will be managed by Shane Gallwey and Edward Guinness.

The Edmond de Rothschild Group is reportedly planning to merge a number of funds to simplify its range – in a move that will see two funds merged into its Edmond de Rothschild Euro SRI offering. Citywire reported that Edmond de Rothschild Euro Convictions and Edmond de Rothschild Ecosphere would be merged into the SRI offering as part of the revamp.

UK fund management group Schroders has launched a catastrophe bond fund. The new Core Insurance Linked Securities offering has flexibility to invest in both catastrophe bonds and other insurance-linked securities instruments. It will invest in a diversified portfolio of ILS mainly linked to natural catastrophes such as hurricanes and earthquakes and to a lesser extent in other risks such as ‘man-made’ risks (aviation, marine, offshore energy). It follows the acquisition of a 30% stake in Zurich-based boutique Secquaero Advisors earlier this year. The new fund will be managed by Daniel Ineichen.