Fund Solutions

This Week’s Fund News: Robeco Launches Climate Equities Strategy

ESG Investor’s weekly round-up of news about funds designed to meet sustainable investing criteria, including Robeco, Actis, DWS, AXA IM Alts, iCapital, and NN IP.  

Robeco, a Rotterdam-headquartered asset manager, has launched the Robeco SAM Net Zero 2050 Climate Equities strategy. Labelled as an Article 9 fund under the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR), the strategy aims to invest in net zero pathways while providing strong financial returns. It will target companies making an active contribution to mitigating the impacts of climate change that are on an 7% annual decarbonisation pathway. Robeco SAM Net Zero 2050 Climate Equities includes opportunities in battery storage solutions, EV and clean tech, as well as mining equipment suppliers, transition capital providers and nature-based assets. Through the strategy, the firm will further actively engage with the companies most affected by the net zero transition. Chris Berkouwer, the strategy’s Portfolio Manager, said: “I’m very excited to be managing the Robeco SAM Net Zero 2050 Climate Equities strategy together with the team and allowing our clients to invest in a wide range of profitable companies that are leading the way in transitioning to net zero and that have the potential to make real-world impact.”  

Sustainable infrastructure investor Actis has launched of independent clean energy power producer Rezolv Energy. As the latest investment in Actis’ Energy 5 fund, Rezolv aims to construct a multi-gigawatt (GW) wind, solar and energy storage portfolio, aiding the Central and South Eastern Europe region’s energy needs in response to climate policies and energy security challenges. The energy power producer has signed agreements to purchase development rights to two wind projects in the region with a total capacity of 1 GW, which are expected to be operational by 2025-26. Lucy Heintz, Actis’ Head of Energy Infrastructure, said: “Our investment in the region strongly aligns with our strategy to build sustainability leaders where we find opportunities to support the Energy Transition, especially important as energy security needs drive faster adoption of renewable energy.” Actis and Mainstream Renewable Power have also signed an agreement to sell Lekela Power to Infinity Group and the Africa Finance Corporation. Lekela Power, a pure-play renewable independent power producer, was established in 2015 through a partnership between Actis and Mainstream. The platform consists of over 1 GW of fully operational wind assets, including five wind farms in South Africa, one in Egypt, one in Senegal and further development opportunities in Ghana, Egypt and Senegal.  

German asset manager DWS Group has launched two new Xtrackers Euro bond ETFs. The ESG Eurozone Government Bond UCITS ETF weights countries in the underlying index based on their ESG characteristics, utilising the FTSE Russell ESG framework for government bonds and applying stricter criteria that excludes countries with the worst ESG characteristics and countries “not considered “free” based on an annual assessment by the Freedom House organisation. Tracking the Bloomberg MSCI Euro High Yield Sustainable and SRI Index, the Xtrackers ESG EUR High Yield Corporate Bond UCITS ETF, also includes a number of ESG-related filters. Bonds without a rating from MSCI ESG Research will be excluded from the index, while bonds from issuers with an MSCI ESG rating of ‘BB’ or higher will be included. Michael Mohr, DWS’ Head of Passive Products, said: “With these two new ETFs, we now offer investors ETFs for corporate and government bonds with different credit ratings, currencies and regional delineations based on a coordinated ESG rulebook.” DWS has also launched the Xtrackers MSCI China A ESG Screened Swap UCITS ETF, which tracks the MSCI China A Inclusion Select ESG Screened Index, excluding companies not fulfilling certain ESG criteria.  

AXA IM Alts, which manages €188 billion in assets, has partnered with fintech platform iCapital. The strategic partnership aims to increase wealth managers’ access to investing opportunities in the private market. The collaboration follows the launch of the AXA IM Alts’ US$500 million Global Health Private Equity strategy, which is the first SFDR Article 9 compliant fund on the iCapital platform. The strategy is focused on four core areas of innovation in medical devices, vaccines, biopharmaceuticals and diagnostics. In the future, the partnership will expand to provide wealth managers and their clients with access to institutional-quality alternative investments, including private debt, infrastructure and real estate. Florence Dard, AXA IM Alts’ Client Group Global Head, said: “Demand for alternative and private market investments amongst wealth managers and their clients is growing, as they seek return drivers beyond the traditional investment universe. In alignment to these demand trends, this partnership further supports our long-term, strategic ambition to expand into the private wealth market.”  

Luxembourg-based NN Investment Partners (NN IP) has announced the launch of the NN Social Bond fund. The fund aims to achieve a positive social impact alongside strong financial returns. The proceeds of the fund are intended to be used for predetermined and predefined projects with clear social benefits to a specific target population. Bram Bos, NN IP’s Green, Social and Impact Bonds Lead Portfolio Manager, said: “The social bond market caught up with other impact bonds and now has a capitalisation of more than €400 billion. In 2022, we expect an issuance of €250 billion. Our outlook for growth opportunities is positive and we are looking forward to tapping into the social bond market and working towards a better future.” 

The practical information hub for asset owners looking to invest successfully and sustainably for the long term. As best practice evolves, we will share the news, insights and data to guide asset owners on their individual journey to ESG integration.

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