Responsible Funds, Oct. 3: PensionDanmark in major new energy infra fund commitment

The round-up of responsible funds news

PensionDanmark, the Danish not-for-profit labour market pension fund, has announced a DKK3.5bn (€470.1m) investment in a new infrastructure fund managed by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) called CI II. The new fund will invest in energy-related infrastructure such as wind farms and electricity and gas transmission systems in Western Europe and North America. CIP also managed the fund CI I, which was established in 2012 with PensionDanmark as the sole investor. The fund’s capital has been invested in wind farms, biomass power plants and transmission networks in the USA, the UK and the German part of the North Sea. Seven other investors are also backing the new fund: PFA, DIP, JØP, Lægernes Pensionskasse and PBU, along with banking groups Nordea and Nykredit.

RobecoSAM, the Swiss sustainability boutique, has launched three new capabilities covering two asset classes (listed and private equity) and integrating ESG factors. The new RobecoSAM Quant Sustainable Global Equities Fund combines two investment disciplines in one product by blending a quantitative investment approach with sustainability analysis and ESG integration. The firm has also strengthened its private equity capabilities in European mid-market investing and resource efficiency related secondary investments.

German infrastructure investor KGAL has bought the 20MW Meteor solar photovoltaic project in France, in the process expanding its solar portfolio by more than €120m this year. Eleven solar farms have been acquired in France, Germany and England. The Meteor purchase was on behalf of its Enhanced Sustainable Power Funds 3 (ESPF 3) institutional fund. Link

The A$290.3m (€201.2m) Larger Companies Trust from SRI specialist Australian Ethical delivered a “strong performance” in August with a 2.8% return exceeding the benchmark return by 1.8%, according to its latest performance report. The portfolio, managed by Mason Willoughby-Thomas, aims to provide long term growth through investment in listed companies on Australian and international stock exchanges that meet the Australian Ethical Charter.

Saudi Arabia-based SEDCO Capital has launched a new Shariah compliant equity fund accessing the Middle East and Northern African market. The GCC Equity Fund has raised US$30m and will be managed by Yazan Abdeen, who previously worked at ING Investment Management.Calvert Investments, the US-based SRI specialist with $13.5bn under management, has launched what it says is the first ESG “unconstrained” bond fund, i.e. not managed against a benchmark index, but allowed to re-allocate to be best positioned in changing markets. It said: “The new Calvert fund is the only mutual fund in the nontraditional bond category to feature the incorporation of environmental, social and governance (ESG) analysis in its investment process.”

Funds from Nordea, OFI and Sparinvest are the first three European funds to be awarded the new LuxFLAG ESG Label, which was launched earlier this year by the Luxembourg body. They are the Nordea 1, SICAV – Emerging Stars Equity Fund, the OFI Multiselect – Europe SRI Fund and Sparinvest SICAV Ethical Global Value. In addition, the LuxFLAG Microfinance Label has been granted to Symbiotics (SICAV) SEB Microfinance Fund II. Announcement

The Union Bancaire Privée (UBP) Group has been granted the Novethic SRI Label 2014 for its Convertibles Europe Responsible Fund, the first UCITS convertible bond fund approved by Novethic, the French media and SRI firm. Since 2012, UBP has been working with Fédéris Gestion d’Actifs, an expert in SRI management, to manage the fund.

The Omidyar Network, the foundation of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, has teamed up with four governments to establish a $200m social venture capital fund to support innovation and entrepreneurship in developing countries called the Global Innovation Fund. It will be supported by the US government’s USAID, the UK’s Department for International Development, and the governments of Sweden and Australia, the Financial Times reported, adding it has $206m in seed capital – and plans to raise further capital from private investors.

The US government’s Small Business Administration (SBA) is expanding its Impact Investment Fund via a series of policy changes. The SBA launched the Impact Fund in 2011 as a five-year, $1bn pilot initiative to capitalize investment funds that seek both financial and social return and said the change “reaffirms SBA’s commitment to impact investing beyond 2016”. The agency will continue to allocate roughly $200m of its $4bn annual investment authority to Impact SBIC’s investing in underserved areas and sectors of national priority.