Fund Solutions

This Week’s Fund News: BlackRock Backs Bill Gates’ Catalyst Programme

ESG Investor’s weekly round-up of news about funds designed to meet sustainable investing criteria, including BlackRock, Man GLG, BNPP AM and DWS. 

The BlackRock Foundation has granted US$100 million to Breakthrough Energy’s Catalyst Programme in order to accelerate the development of the climate solutions necessary to achieve net-zero by 2050. This is the foundation’s largest grant since it was created in February 2020. Breakthrough Energy is founded by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates. “Mobilising the US$50 trillion in capital necessary to finance the global energy transition will require innovative new partnerships across the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Our partnership with the Catalyst program represents a five-year philanthropic commitment to invest in cutting-edge science that will help bring vital clean energy solutions forward – at scale – to achieve the world’s decarbonization goals and mitigate the uneven impact of climate change on communities,” said BlackRock CEO Larry Fink. Catalyst aims to invest in four clean energy technologies: green hydrogen, long-duration energy storage, direct air capture and sustainable aviation fuel. By investing in these technologies, Catalyst aims to lower green premiums and accelerate their widespread adoption. “The technologies Catalyst focuses on are vital to the world reaching net zero but require significant investments so they can become inexpensive enough for the whole world to afford them. By coordinating investments and directing them toward these critical technologies, we can reduce their green premiums, help them get to market faster, and have a meaningful positive impact on our planet,” said Gates.

Man GLG, the discretionary investment management arm of Man Group, has launched a long-short UCITS fund. The Man GLG RI Global Sustainable Growth Alternative fund will provide investors with an absolute return by taking both long and short positions in global equities. The fund will be managed by Rory Powe, who also manages over US$3 billion in European equities and co-manages the long-only Man GLG RI Global Sustainable Growth fund. Holding 25-45 global companies, the fund will only invest in corporates with strong ESG credentials or that have scope to achieve strong ESG scores within the firm’s forecasting period. The portfolio team will draw upon Man Group’s wider ESG and stewardship expertise, also looking to identify companies that contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The fund is classified as Article 8 under SFDR. “The launch of this fund underscores our ongoing effort to enhance our responsible investment capabilities and offer our clients a breadth of investment opportunities in this space. Powe and the team have an established investment process and track record of investing in both European and global equities. We are excited to launch a fund that applies the team’s expertise to an ESG mandate within a long-short framework,” said Man GLG CEO Teun Johnston.

BNP Paribas Asset Management (BNPP AM) has announced that the BNP Paribas Easy CAC 40 UCITS ETF will now replicate the CAC 40 ESG NTR. The change means that BNPP AM is now managing the first French market index fund to track this index, which consists of 40 (predominantly French) companies with the best ESG practices according to data provided by Moody’s ESG Solutions. The index also incorporates exclusions aligned with the principles of the United Nations Global Impact, screening companies involved activities such as coal, weapons and tobacco. “This launch is part of our long-standing sustainable investing DNA and is testament to our innovative approach.  Our long-term strategic positioning within ESG ETFs enables us to meet growing investor demand, and we are proud to offer the first index fund listed on Euronext’s new CAC 40 ESG index,” said Isabelle Bourcier, Head of Quantitative and Index Management at BNPP AM.

German fund manager DWS has established a range of ten Xtrackers ESG-screened Europe equity sector ETFs, which will track MSCI indices. These products provide exposure to the sectors including communication services, energy, healthcare, industrials, utilities and materials. Harnessing MSCI’s ESG research processes, combining the index provider’s ESG screen methodology, removing the worst ESG laggards. The ETFs are all classified as Article 8 under SFDR. “We are pleased to establish these new Xtrackers ETFs providing exposure to MSCI’s ESG screened Europe sector indices. This is in line with the demand we see from clients, while the highly competitive annual all-in fees should also prove attractive,” said Simon Klein, DWS’s Global Head of Passive Sales.

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