News from Ethical Intelligence

Jay Owen SRI/ESG News, Beyond GDP

What did you miss this week, Hazel?

Welcome to your round-up for February 17-23. Just a quick one this week – we have a new fund from Goldman Sachs, Aviva head takes aim at BlackRock, Microsoft stock wins from ESG interest, and Erste AM integrates sustainability across its fund range. Egypt and Canada’s VF Corp look to green bonds, which NN IP research suggest are outperforming the market, while BNP breaks ground with ESG derivatives. New research explores Asian regulator’s approach to sustainable finance supervision, and MSCI is bullish on ESG index growth.

We’ll be back on Monday with your usual weekly does of ESG investment news, so watch this space – or if you can’t wait that long, why not head on over to the website and subscribe for full access?

TOP STORY

Regulation will be a driver of demand for specific ESG capabilities – Institutional Asset Manager
The challenge UK asset managers face in balancing their fiduciary duty to deliver returns to clients with the growing demand from investors and regulators for investments to be sustainable has intensified recently, finds new Cerulli research. UK asset managers should brace for increased scrutiny of their ESG capabilities. They must respond to the updating of the country’s Stewardship Code by the Financial Reporting Council, the introduction of additional policies relating to pension funds’ statements of investment principles (SIPs) by the Department for Work and Pensions, and the launch of a new supervisory mandate that affects insurers by the Prudential Regulation Authority.

FUNDS

Aviva Investors CIO takes aim at BlackRock’s ESG vision – CityWire
Aviva Investors’ David Cumming questions whether BlackRock’s plans to double its ESG ETF range will help tackle climate change, claiming passive funds only serve to ‘support existing business models. He also attacks passive funds, claiming they only serve to ‘support the existing business models’ of firms with poor ESG records through their lack of engagement as shareholders.

Microsoft stock is the biggest winner from ESG investing – Quartz
Microsoft has been the biggest winner from stock market investment into ESG funds, according to financial data company EPFR. ESG funds held $2.3 billion worth of Microsoft stock as of Dec. 31, according to EPFR data. Alphabet and Disney came in at 2 and 3. The EPFR data accounts for all equity funds (active as well as passive index funds) around the world.

Goldman Sachs AM launches environmental impact equity fund – Investment Week
Goldman Sachs Asset management (GSAM) has launched an environmental impact fund headed up by Alexis Deladerrière and the firm’s global equity team. The Goldman Sachs Global Environmental Impact Equity Portfolio, which will be run using bottom-up stock selection process, aims to hold companies that positively contribute to clean energy and resource efficiency.

Erste AM integrates sustainability in funds & on corporate level – Investment Europe
Erste Asset Management (Erste AM) has expanded in the area of ethics and environmental issues. It issued the first sustainable mutual fund as early as in 2001, and since 2006, the fund has been co-managed by WWF. With a total of 15 sustainable mutual funds and numerous special funds with assets under management of €6.6bn, the company is taking the next step by making sustainable criteria an integral part of a large number of its investment decisions. This will raise the assets under management that explicitly take into account ESG criteria to €13.4bn (as of 31 January 2020).