Responsible Funds, October 4: State Street Global Advisors, Nuveen, ACTIAM, Evli, Wellington Management, Eurex

The latest responsible funds news

State Street Global Advisors has launched an ESG exchange traded fund based on STOXX Europe 600. The SPDR STOXX Europe 600 ESG Screened Ucits ETF has a ‘Fast Exit’ feature to react quickly to breaking ESG controversies, deleting constituents whose Sustainalytics controversy risk rating rises to Level 5 two dissemination days after the rating is announced. The ETF aims to eliminate exposure to controversial weapons, tobacco and thermal coal, and firms violating the UN Global Compact. It is listed on Xetra, Borsa Italiana and Euronext.

Nuveen, the US fund manager owned by TIAA, has launched a high yield fixed income ESG ETF aimed at offering a low carbon footprint. The Nuveen ESG High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (NUHY) follows the Bloomberg Barclays MSCI US High Yield Very Liquid ESG Select Index, which uses ESG criteria to select around 400 securities from the USD-denominated high yield, fixed rate corporate bond market.

ACTIAM’s Institutional Microfinance Fund III has been renamed the ACTIAM Financial Inclusion Fund. According to ACTIAM, the Dutch manager with €60.5bn under management, the fund contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by extending private loans to financial institutions in emerging countries with the aim of helping small enterprises gain access to financing.

Finnish fund house Evli has integrated ESG into its factor investment process, converting two of its factor investing funds into ESG funds. The Evli Equity Factor Europe and Evli Equity Factor USA funds, managed by Peter Lindahl, Matias Lagerspetz and Antti Sivonen, will add best-in-class ESG filters and exclude controversial stocks.

Renewal Funds, a Vancouver-based venture capital firm investing in environmental technology and sustainable consumer products, has closed C$145m (€99m) in its fourth fund, Renewal4. The fund received over C$40m in commitments from investors based in the US and Europe, and a C$20m allocation from the Canadian federal government’s Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative’s (VCCI) Clean Technology stream, which were among 140 investors.Wellington Management has launched a global multi-factor equity fund with an ESG tilt. The Wellington Universal Vision Fund, an actively managed Ireland-domiciled UCITS fund, integrates ESG considerations by increasing or decreasing allocations to securities, seeking returns relative to the MSCI All Country World Index. A low rating will not necessarily result in the exclusion of a security.

Derivatives exchange Eurex is extending its ESG product range by adding the first exchange-traded ESG options on a European benchmark. Launch of the new options, which are based on the leading STOXX Europe 600 ESG-X Index, is scheduled for October 21. Eurex said it will further complement its STOXX Select products with futures and options that capture the performance of European companies with high dividend payments, low volatility and a relatively high ESG score. Eurex first launched ESG futures in February, based on the STOXX benchmarks and covering ESG exclusions, low carbon and climate impact.

MSCI and New York Stock Exchange parent Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) are to partner on ESG versions of ICE’s fixed income indexes and ESG-related futures. The partnership includes a long-term extension of ICE’s existing license agreement for listed futures based on MSCI Indexes. MSCI will also license ESG data to ICE Data Services for index construction, while ICE Data Services’ leading fixed income pricing and reference data will be integrated into MSCI’s platform.

UK funds group Liontrust has completed its acquisition of Neptune Investment Management – a buy-out that takes Liontrust’s total assets from £2.8bn to £17bn. The investment team, headed by Robin Geffen and now called the Liontrust Global Equity team, will continue to manage the 19 former Neptune funds with no change to the managers or investment process. The funds have all been rebranded under the Liontrust banner. Liontrust made a similar move back in 2016, when it bought Alliance Trust’s sustainability business in a £30m deal.

Paris-based quant manager TOBAM has been awarded the LuxFLAG ESG label to its full range of funds, which includes equity, fixed income, and multi-asset portfolios. The LuxFLAG ESG Label requires applicant funds to screen 100% of their invested portfolio according to one of the ESG strategies and standards recognised by LuxFLAG.