RI Global news round-up 20/11/07

RI’s bite-size summary of responsible investment news.

A major Swiss pension fund is seeking a fund manager for a $90m (€61m) active global sustainable equity mandate via the IPE-Quest manager search system. The mandate will be benchmarked against the MSCI World index with interested managers asked to show a three-year performance record to the end of September, 2007.
The fund says that knowledge and experience of Swiss pension funds would be an advantage to applying managers.
Closing date for applications is November 29. For full information, click on the following link IPE-Quest.
Alex van der Velden, executive director of FairPensions, the UK lobby group for responsible investing, is leaving to join PGGM, the Dutch pension fund giant as a responsible investment director in charge of portfolio assets.
PGGM is seeking to increase its five-strong responsible investment team to about eight members and will make further recruitments in the coming months, according to Marcel Jeucken, head of responsible investment at the fund. FairPensions is currently seeking a replacement for Van der Velden.
Al Gore, former vice president of the United States and co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, has joined the board at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the Silicon Valley venture capital firm.
The move marks a tie-up between Generation Investment Management, the fund manager Gore set up withex-Goldman Sach’s Asset Management chief, David Blood, and Kleiner Perkins to fund technology start-ups technology that address global climate change. In July this year, Responsible Investor revealed that Generation was planning to make its first private equity style investments with the launch of a hybrid climate change solutions fund that also invests in smaller companies. The fund is the first addition to Generation’s range since it began two and a half years ago investing in large cap equities based on sustainable investment criteria. Kleiner
Perkins plans to co-locate a new European operation at
Generation’s offices in London. Kleiner has historically focused on investments in the US, but recently expanded operations into China. Read RI’s July scoop on Generation
Harcourt, the Swiss alternative fund manager, has joined forces with Swedish financial services groups Storebrand, Folksam and KPA Pension, to launch the Belair Sustainable Alternatives SRI Fund, a global fund of hedge funds. The Luxembourg-based SICAV will invest in diverse hedge funds using an SRI framework devised by Storebrand and Folksam.
HSBC’s corporate and investment banking division has launched a range of structured investment products that will give various exposures to the group’s Global Climate Change Index, which began in September. The products include tracker, leveraged and principal protected notes as well as constant proportion portfolio insurance.

The bank has been quickly building a range of funds around the index, which is the world’s largest benchmark tracking 300 companies with operations that seek to mitigate the effects of climate change.
It has created an index with exposure to the 100 most liquid stocks as well as a climate change fund based on quant investment techniques at Sinopia, its French asset management subsidiary.
Canada’s $106bn (€76bn) Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has bought Glass, Lewis & Co, the US investment research and governance company, for $46m from Xinhua Finance in Shanghai.
Brian Gibson, senior vice-president for public equities at the fund, said: “The investment in Glass Lewis ensures that investors will have an impartial, expert source of information on corporate governance, accounting and legal issues at public companies for years to come.”
US fund manager, Affiliated Managers Group, has bought a minority stake in ValueAct Capital, the governance activist manager that buys stakes in public companies and works with managements to increase value. The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. San Francisco-based ValueAct, runs more than $6bn in assets for clients including US foundations and family offices.
FTSE’s US operation is to launch a series of terror-free indexes that match divestment calls by US states for investors to boycott companies with links to Sudan, Iran, Syria and North Korea. The indices, created jointly with Conflict Securities Advisory Group will exclude companies with business operations in those countries from the FTSE All World-ex U.S., All World Developed ex-U.S. and FTSE Emerging Markets indexes, excludingsome 250 to 300 companies, according to FTSE.
The United Nations has said that millions of jobs worldwide could be casualties of climate change, but said efforts to mitigate its effects could also significantly boost employment.
Heads of the UN climate and weather agency told a conference of the International Labour Organisation that global warming could decimate the world fisheries sector, threaten the tourism industry and cause widespread job losses among people displaced by the impacts of climate change. However, UN Environment
Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner said scores of new jobs would be created in the environment technology sector as countries invest to thwart the effects of climate change.
Claymore Securities is to launch what it says is the first US-listed global timber ETF, reports P&I, the US newspaper. The Claymore/Clear Global Timber index ETF comprises US shares and global depository receipts of timber-related companies with market capitalisations over $300m.
China will invest about €2bn ($3bn) in taxes raised from trading in carbon emissions into a new state-owned fund that supports ventures reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reports Reuters. The China Clean Development Mechanism Fund has received support from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank and will be managed by China’s Ministry of Finance.
Robeco, the Dutch fund manager, will start selling SRI products into the Chinese market under growth plans for a new Hong Kong office. Frank Kusse international director at Robeco told Thomson Investment Management News that the offering was likely to include water and energy efficiency funds.