ESG Investor’s weekly round-up of news about funds designed to meet sustainable investing criteria, including Putnam, Neuberger Berman, iM Global Partners, Vortex Energy, Invesco Real Estate, SUSI Partners and SparkChange.
Putnam Investments, a Boston-based investment management firm with US$180 billion in AUM, has announced the launch of three fixed income and two active quantitative ETFs with an ESG focus. The fixed income portfolios will be managed by the Putnam fixed income team, while the quantitative equity ESG strategies will be sub-advised by Putnam affiliate PanAgora Asset Management, with Putnam being the advisor for all five ETFs. The new ESG ETFs will form part of Putnam’s ESG-focused sustainable retirement funds package. Robert Reynolds, President and CEO of Putnam Investments, said: “Putnam is committed to providing investors with a range of thoughtful, alpha-seeking sustainable and ESG offerings, as we believe in the value and importance of these strategies in building a long-term investment portfolio. We have seen growing interest from many corners of the marketplace for ESG investing across a range of asset classes – and are excited to introduce these new fixed income and quantitative equity ETFs to our line-up.”
US-based employee-owned investment manager Neuberger Berman has “reframed” its existing Neuberger Berman Global High Yield SDG Engagement fund in partnership with UBS Global Wealth Management (GWM). For the first six months, the fund will be available exclusively to UBS clients in Switzerland and other select international markets, and will then open to all eligible global investors (excluding the US). The fund will engage with 100% of issuers on objectives aligned with contributions to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and will provide regular reporting on the engagement progress by sharing key performance indicators and case studies relating to the issuers’ services, processes, operations and products. This will allow progress towards other positive environmental and social outcomes, while producing investment returns and ensuring alignment with the UN SDGs. Bruno Marxer, Head of Global Investment Management at UBS GWM, said: “The collaborative effort behind this new launch speaks to our ambition to provide our clients with exclusive access to solutions from leading partners, in this case enabling them to position for current market trends while helping to drive positive social and environmental change.”
Vortex Energy, a subsidiary of Egyptian financial services company EFG Hermes, has invested €222 million in Ignis, a Spanish renewable energy investor. The investment is part of a series of capital increases funded by Vortex and delivered by Ignis to build out a 20 gigawatt (GW) renewable energy portfolio across Europe, Asia, Latin America and the US. Vortex and Ignis began the partnership last year, with Vortex’s first investment coming in Q4 2021, which allowed Ignis to reach ready-to-build status having secured all key permits. Ignis are set to start site preparations and will eventually build around 500 megawatts (MW) in capacity, with management further negotiating more than 500MW of bilateral PPA’s with reputable and blue-chip off-takers. Karim Moussa, CEO of Vortex Energy, said: “We are extremely delighted with the achievements of Ignis in such a short period of time and during these challenging market conditions. Ignis’ management skills and quality of its portfolio continue to solidify its market position.” Vortex Energy has already invested €1.6 billion in the energy transition across the UK, Europe and the US and will support Ignis’ growth with an additional €46 million in Q4 2022 and €176 million in Q1 2023.
iM Global Parners (iMGP), a multi-boutique asset management platform, has appointed London-based WHEB Asset Management as the sub-advisor for its iMGP Sustainable Europe fund from 1 July. WHEB will be taking on the fund, which is categorised as an Article 9 product under the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR), from Zadig Asset Management, with the firm’s investment team now jointly managing the product. George Latham, Managing Partner at WHEB, said: “Over nearly two decades the team at WHEB has pioneered and evolved the way we invest in companies which are solving sustainability challenges for positive impact. We are really looking forward to working in partnership with iM Global Partner to make WHEB’s investment strategy available as a European equity portfolio.”
Luxembourg-based Invesco Real Estate has launched its first real estate debt fund in Europe with an initial fundraising target of €1 billion. The Invesco Commercial Mortgage Income – Europe FCP RAIF (CMI Europe) will prioritise lending on sustainable assets with ESG profiles. Invesco has so far committed to €150 million of loans across Europe and the UK and has ESG criteria as a key part of the fund’s due diligence, credit analysis and approval process, including factors such as EPC ratings, green building certification, renewable energy usage, and tenant ESG policies. Andrew Gordon, Managing Director of Fund Management at Invesco Real Estate, said: “The aim of the fund is to invest in opportunities offering the best possible risk-adjusted returns available to a pan-European real estate debt vehicle. Importantly, our new fund prioritises lending on sustainable assets. Borrowers’ business plans will need to demonstrate a focus on sustainability while development loans, for instance, will focus on assets that meet best-in-class principles. Our investor base is rapidly refocusing on investments with fundamental ESG qualities.”
Swiss fund management firm SUSI Partners has announced the beginning of its 2022 fundraising program with the expansion of the company’s flagship equity fund. SUSI has finalised the second closing of the SUSI Energy Transition fund (SETF) having now added €144 million in investor commitments, increasing the fund’s value to €441 million. The closing is expected to be the first of several fundraising efforts which aim to see the firm’s total investment commitments pass the €2 billion mark. The SETF’s second closing adds commitments from a Dutch foundation, several German institutions and a large investment from a Swedish pension fund. Since the SETF’s first closing in 2020, the fund has established five platforms which enable partnerships with experienced investors and cover a wide range of asset life cycles and ensure access to higher quality investment opportunities. Marius Dorfmeister, Co-CEO of SUSI Partners, said: “2022 will be a busy fundraising year for us as we aim to surpass €2 billion in firm-wide investor commitments by the end of the year. This second closing for our flagship fund is an important step towards this goal and we are delighted to have new investors joining our efforts to drive forward the energy transition.”
SparkChange’s new Physical Carbon EUA ETC (SPCEE) is now listed on Deutsch Börse XETRA and Borsa Italiana and available to European investors. SparkChange, a carbon investment products and data provider, intends for the SPCEE to offer investors a way to invest in physical EU carbon allowances, which companies classed as polluters by the EU must hold and redeem in line with the amount of pollution they emit. The SPCEE fund will purchase carbon allowances which leaves fewer for the biggest polluters in Europe to cover their emissions, making fossil fuel consumption more expensive and encouraging investment in sustainable alternatives. SparkChange has so far withheld 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 permits. Elliot Waxman, CEO of SparkChange, said: “The Emissions Trading System is the EU’s primary decarbonisation tool, and providing more investors with access to carbon allowances creates greater environmental impact and helps mitigate the risk of carbon exposure. CO2 is therefore a vital ingredient in aiding the successful transition to a net zero economy.”