Responsible Funds, September 1: RBC and Epoch win sustainability mandates for new London pension pool

The latest responsible funds news.

RI understands that London CIV, a new investment vehicle pooling the assets of around 32 London Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) funds, has appointed RBC Asset Management and Epoch Investment Partners for sustainable global equities mandates. London CIV is in the process of appointing managers for a range of ‘sub-funds’ to which LGPS funds can make allocations. London CIV is expected to manage around £8bn overall. The UK’s 89 local government pension funds are in the process of pooling their assets that will be managed by eight different investment pools.
Switzerland’s Banque Cantonale Neuchâteloise (BCN) is reportedly set to launch two new funds that favour firms with an ESG bias. The Fonds Durable Revenu and Fonds Durable Équilibré – reported to be the Bank’s first funds – will invest primarily in equities, bonds and real estate, favouring companies that employ environmental, social, and governance criteria. Managed by its subsidiary Swisscanto, BCN’s new fund has already received over CHF80m in assets from institutional and private clients.
ImpactAssets, the US non-profit impact investment firm, has announced the addition of four new “high-impact investment options” within its $350m Giving Fund. The new sustainability-focused funds, offering private debt and equity investments, will be open to investors for as little as $25,000. These additions replace more than 12 private debt and equity funds that have been successfully funded and closed on the Giving Fund platform to date. The new funds are: Iroquois Valley Farms Blended Private Debt Note, EcoEnterprises Fund III Venture Fund For Nature, Sarona Frontier Markets Fund III, and long-time anchor fund, MicroVest Short Duration Fund.
The World Bank has launched a new pilot “green outcomes” fund to encourage the growth of small green businesses in South Africa. The Green Outcomes Fund, a collaboration between the World Bank’s Climate Technology Programme, WWF South Africa, and the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, aims to incentivise local South African fund managers to increase investment in green businesses by paying for the “green outcomes” they generate. The fund now seeks to raise between $1m and S$2m in its first phase.BlackRock cut fees by as much as 20 basis points for three of its socially responsible ETFs, according to Bloomberg . The funds total nearly $204m in assets, the SEC reported. In addition, BlackRock made reductions by nearly 2 basis points to eight bond ETFs. The 11 funds combined have $4bn in AUM. “As previously outlined, we are purposefully leveraging the benefits of our global scale and investing in our business to deliver value to clients and shareholders,” said Melissa Garville, a spokeswoman at BlackRock.
Risto Murto, Varma’s CEO, has stated that concerns regarding the absence of a “traditional President” in the US has driven Finland’s largest pension firm to cut the weight of US stocks in its €45bn portfolio, according to Bloomberg. Trump’s unorthodox approach to statesmanship has reportedly made investors concerned that the US is now a riskier proposition.Varma reduced its equity weight by 5% in the second quarter, mostly by cutting US stocks.
GreenEffects NAI-Wertefonds, LGT Sustainable Equity Global, and TerrAssisi Aktien I AMI have achieved the best returns according to new analysis of 58 sustainable funds. The analysis, conducted by Berlin-based consumer organisation Stiftung Warentest, also claimed – despite the absence of a shared “minimum ethical standard”– that Triodos Sustainable Equity, Swisscanto Green Invest Equity, and Ökovorld Ökovision Classic had the “strictest ethical criteria”. UBS MSCI World Socially Responsible came out as the best-rated ETF.
*DMS Governance, the Cayman*-listed governance, risk, and compliance firm, has launched a new fund that aims to achieve “medium to long term capital appreciation” whilst promoting employment in Ireland. The JWP Enterprise Fund, which forms a part of its JWP ICAV umbrella platform, will primarily invest in Irish assets related to: education, energy, social, tourism, and manufacturing.
InFaith Foundation, the US faith-based charity, has reportedly seeded its WomenInvest investment portfolio with $10m as it opens itself to donor-advised funds. The fund, which is advised by Veris Wealth Partners and Sonen Capital, will target companies committed to equal pay, promotion, and leadership for women. Through promoting gender-equality its hoped the fund will contribute to addressing the root causes of violence against women.