Responsible Funds, Sept. 30: Norges Bank, UBS AM, Monaco, OPIC, SolarCity, Charities Aid Foundation

The round-up of the latest responsible funds news

Norges Bank has decided to revoke the exclusion of Singapore Technologies Engineering from the Government Pension Fund Global. The company was excluded from the fund in 2002 due to production of antipersonnel landmines. The decision was made on the basis of a recommendation from the Council on Ethics, which has received confirmation from the company that it no longer has any activities associated with production of antipersonnel landmines or cluster munitions. Announcement

UBS Asset Management has announced it has more than $1bn invested in sustainable exchange traded funds (ETFs). Andrew Walsh, Head of UBS ETF Sales UK & Ireland, said: “Reaching this milestone shows that investors are recognising the importance of sustainability and are keen to use the opportunities offered by UBS SRI ETFs in their investment portfolio”. The firm recently announced its intention to broaden its sustainable investment capabilities with the appointment of Michael Baldinger, who joins the firm in November as Head of Sustainable and Impact Investing from RobecoSAM, where he was chief executive.

The Government of Monaco has seeded a new clean tech fund from the Nobel family. The Nobel Sustainability Fund will be managed by Earth Capital Partners and it will invest across the cleantech and sustainable technology sectors. Prince Albert II of Monaco said: “It is essential to ensure energy security for developing nations and to promote mitigation of environmental impacts. It is also a major challenge for developed nations, seeking to maintain current living standards, to minimise climate impact on future generations”.

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the US government’s development finance institution, has committed $250m to financing a wind farm in Senegal. The deal, signed by OPIC and Lekela Power at the African Business Forum in New York, will see the development and operation of a 158MW facility in Taiba N’Diaye. OPIC committed $250m in financing and $70m in reinsurance to Parc Eolien Taiba N’Diaye. The project is expected to increase Senegal’s available installed power capacity by 24 percent in a country that suffers from regular power rationing and blackouts.

Northern Ireland is tendering for a £4.7m contract to manage its Energy Efficiency Loan Fund from October of this year to September 2018. The fund provides loans of up to £400,000 for equipment or technology that provides carbon savings.SolarCity, the Nasdaq-listed solar firm where Elon Musk is chairman, has formed yet another partnership with a financial institution in order to launch solar funds. The US renewables heavyweight has teamed up with Citi to create two funds – the first of which it claims will finance more than $284m in residential solar in the country, while the second is slated to finance some $63m in projects for SME’s in California. The actual size of the funds was not disclosed. SolarCity has created more than 50 similar funds with third parties, including Credit Suisse and JP Morgan. Earlier this month, the firm closed its second cash equity transaction in a deal with private investment fund Quantum Strategic Partners.

UK-based bank Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) has partnered with Interactive Investor to launch a platform providing charities access to selection of charity-specific investment funds available to buy and manage in one place online. The CAF Investment Account will launch in October. A spokesman said it would be the first digital trading platform designed exclusively for charities. It will provide access to thousands of funds, including the widest range of charity specific funds available to manage and buy in one place online, and will enable charities to invest directly in stocks and bonds listed on the London Stock Exchange and other global markets.

Nomura Asset Management has hired Japanese data vendor Quick to provide it with Glass Lewis reports. Quick is owned by Nikkei and last year formed a partnership with Glass Lewis, which provides proxy paper information for some 20,000 listed companies. Nomura is seeking the information “in order to make a more adequate in-house judgment of shareholder proposals”.

NAMA Women Advancement Establishment has launched a “first-of-a-kind” fund dedicated to developing opportunities for women, it announced at the UN General Assembly in New York this week. The organisation, based in the United Arab Emirates, has received seed funding of $2.7m from its chairwoman, Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, the social activist wife of Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the Ruler of Sharjah. The fund seeks to mobilise financial “to elevate the status of women” globally. It will invest in initiatives such as Girls Ambassadors for Peace – a programme working with young women in countries affected by conflict to help them engage with peace building.