Impax Asset Management has been awarded a substantial sub-advisory mandate to run the Desjardins SocieTerra Environment Fund. The fund will be run using the same process as the Impax Global Opportunities (GO) strategy.
The Desjardins STE Fund, which as of 31 March 2020 had assets of circa CAD152 million (GBP87 million), is among the first socially responsible investment funds launched in Canada and focuses on investing in companies that offer solutions to environmental problems.
The GO strategy is an all cap global equity strategy investing in durable companies identified by the proprietary Impax Sustainability Lens. In January 2020 GO celebrated its five-year track record and has outperformed throughout that period returning 81.4 per cent since inception to the end of March 2020 versus 48.1 per cent from the MSCI All Country World Index. Despite recent market volatility caused by the impact of Covid-19, the GO strategy has outperformed the MSCI ACWI, returning -6.5 per cent in March 2020 versus -10.9 per cent from the benchmark.
This is the latest in a series of significant milestones for the GO strategy, which is co-managed by David Winborne and Kirsteen Morrison:
- In July 2018 St James’s Place selected the GO investment team to run its Sustainable and Responsible Equity Fund. The GBP286 million mandate has grown significantly since 2018 and is now worth GBP684 million (as of 31 March 2020).
- In January 2020 the GO team at Impax commenced managing part of the West Midlands Pension Fund. Impax was appointed alongside four other managers to manage collectively up to GBP1 billion, which represents the largest allocation to actively managed sustainable equities ever made in the UK.
- In October 2019 the GO strategy was chosen by Formuepleje, the largest non-bank owned asset manager in Denmark, for its Better World Global Opportunities fund, which currently has GBP95.2 million assets under management (as of 31 March 2020).
Commenting on the selection of Impax, Sébastien Vallée, general manager, Investment Solutions Development and Management at Desjardins Investments, says: “This new appointment represents an extension of our relationship with Impax, which has also managed the Desjardins SocieTerra Cleantech Fund since 2016. Impax is well recognised worldwide for its expertise in understanding investment opportunities arising from the transition to a more sustainable economy. As the global economy shifts to become more sustainable, the set of related investment opportunities is expanding rapidly.”
David Richardson, executive director, Client Service and Business Development at Impax, says: “We are honoured Desjardins has chosen Impax to become this flagship fund’s new portfolio sub-manager. GO remains one of our best performing strategies and has outperformed its benchmark year to date, despite the volatile markets. The portfolio is benefitting from its focus on resilient companies that have durable business models, particularly those with lower levels of debt. During the market weakness the portfolio managers have been looking to add to their high conviction holdings.”
Morrison, co-portfolio manager of the GO strategy, says: “Five years ago, we decided to launch this strategy because of the increasing evidence of the disruption that is happening in the world economy. A series of major factors are playing out in the world which we believe will profoundly shape private sector markets over the coming decades, including demographic change, resource scarcity, inadequate infrastructure, and environmental constraints. We don’t believe that the disruption caused by Covid-19 has negatively impacted the long-term growth opportunity of our investment universe.”