Fund Solutions

This Week’s Fund News: Neuberger Berman, AllianzGI, Aegon, Lyxor, HanETF And More

ESG Investor’s weekly round-up of news about funds designed to meet sustainable investing criteria.

Neuberger Berman has launched two sustainable equity UCITS funds. The Neuberger Berman Global Sustainable Equity and European Sustainable Equity are high conviction funds and hold usually about 30-60 stocks. They seek to invest in quality companies where sustainability reinforces returns, assessing material ESG factors and applying bottom-up research focused on value chain economics. The fund managers will seek an ‘active share’ and focus engagement on strategy, competitive environment, outlook, innovation, remuneration, gbondovernance, and sustainability. “We are seeing increasing growth in what we call ‘conscious consumers’, who are holding corporations and governments to account through consumption behaviour, elections and activism,” said Hendrik-Jan Boer, Senior Portfolio Manager at Neuberger Berman.

AllianzGI has announced that 74 of its equity, fixed income and multi-asset funds will join its sustainable investment offering, as part of the firm’s strategic ambition “to be a sustainable investment shaper” and anticipate growing client demand. Portfolios will be constructed using ESG assessments reflecting clients’ values through AllianzGI Sustainable Minimum Exclusions and will adopt a strengthened engagement approach or SRI Best-in-class considerations. Recognising the urgency of the global climate challenge and the role of engagement in driving real world impact, AllianzGI is launching a dedicated climate engagement approach – Climate Engagement with Outcome – which aims to engage with companies on the climate transition pathway towards a low carbon economy.

Aegon Asset Management has completed the transition of its Aegon Diversified Growth Fund to a sustainable multi-asset investment strategy, renamed Aegon Sustainable Diversified Growth Fund from 1 April 2021. Co-managed by Colin Dryburgh and Robert-Jan van der Mark of Aegon AM’s Multi-Asset Team, the £534 million fund aims to return 4% over inflation through a globally diversified portfolio of equities, bonds and alternative assets. The firm’s multi-asset team defines sustainable businesses as those where products, services and business practices are positively aligned with at least one of six key sustainability themes: climate change, eco solutions, resource efficiency, sustainable growth, inclusion, and health & wellbeing. The fund invests across sustainability ‘leaders’, those investments Aegon’s sustainability assessment identify as displaying exemplary sustainability credentials, and ‘improvers’, by which the managers aim to capitalise upon positive change.

Lyxor Asset Management plans to expand its offers for three key ETF product pillars – ESG and Climate, Thematics and Core. This includes extending its range of climate ETFs to fixed income segments and increasing its range of green bond ETFs. Lyxor is also looking to offer investors exposure to innovation in sectors such as healthcare and clean tech and new geographies. Arnaud Llinas, Head of Lyxor ETFs and Indexing at Lyxor Asset Management, said: “Our shift in focus aims at addressing investors’ long-term concerns – aiding the transition to a low-carbon economy, capturing new themes in a post-Covid world and ensuring maximum efficiency for their investments – and as such reflects the profound change in nature of the ETF market.”

HANetf, an independent provider of UCITS ETFs, has listed two ETFs on SIX, the Swiss Stock Exchange. The iClima Global Decarbonisation Enablers UCITS ETF is a climate change tracker which provides exposure to companies offering products and services enabling CO2e avoidance, and quantifies the impact of those companies in meeting decarbonisation targets. The Digital Infrastructure and Connectivity UCITS ETF captures companies positioned to benefit most from the explosive growth of the digital infrastructure virtuous circle of expanding users, data, applications, and bandwidth. The two products were launched in the second half of last year in the UK, Germany and Italy.

Sustainable Insight Capital Management and Impact Cubed Investments have expanded their suite of sustainable strategies with the addition of a US High-Impact Equity portfolio. The new strategy leverages the firms’ alpha capabilities and sustainable expertise to meet investor demand for a US public equity portfolio with a high ESG impact. Each of the strategies combine rigorous portfolio construction with “a transparent approach to understanding and measuring key metrics to support its sustainability choices and performance”. The disclosure employs the Impact Cubed portfolio model, a proprietary quantitative impact measurement and optimisation tool that provides a framework to align portfolios with the UN SDGs.

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