ESG Pathway: The need for consistent language

One of the challenges the industry continues to face is the need for consistent language and terminology around ESG and Responsible investment. In the third event of the ESG Pathway series, we were joined by Jess Foulds, Policy Specialist at The Investment Association, who leads the policy work on Sustainability and Responsible investment. During the session, Jess outlined what The Investment Association have been doing in conjunction with the asset management industry to address the need for consistency in order to meet the forthcoming regulation.

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Aberdeen Standard Liquidity Awarded a Recommended Rating

We are pleased to announce that we have awarded the Aberdeen Standard Liquidity (Lux) - Sterling fund a recommended rating. We are impressed with the size and the strength of the liquidity team at Aberdeen Standard Investments, alongside their strong track record of preserving investors capital. We also believe the fund is well priced at an OCF of 10 basis points, which is imperative in the current ultra-low interest rate environment.

We must warn investors that, due to the current interest rate environment, even the best run funds in this sector may well provide a small negative monthly return to investors, net of fees. Currently this fund's OCF is in line with the Bank of England base rate and, all things being equal, we would expect the fund to provide an annualised return very close to 0.0% at present.

Legg Mason ClearBridge US Equity Sustainability Leaders Awarded a Responsible A Rating

We are delighted to announce that we have upgraded our rating of the Legg Mason ClearBridge US Equity Sustainability Leaders fund from Responsible Positive Prospect to Responsible A.

We believe the managers have consistently and successfully applied the investment approach, which has ultimately led to a good level of asset growth and a rewarding performance profile for its investors. In addition, Franklin Templeton has completed its acquisition of Legg Mason, since we initially awarded the Responsible Positive Prospect rating. All of these factors have led to an increase in our overall level of conviction in the strategy.

Wellington Global Impact Bond fund Awarded a Responsible Positive Prospect Rating

We are pleased to introduce the Wellington Global Impact Bond fund to the Academy of Funds with a Responsible Positive Prospect rating.

With a big commitment from Wellington, the fund follows a proprietary, clearly defined, impact process. Having launched in 2018, Wellington's Impact bond team have so far delivered a positive track record, providing investors with a high quality, core, global fixed income portfolio. This has been delivered alongside strong impact investing credentials that contribute to solutions to some of the world's major social and environmental challenges.

BNY Mellon Multi-Asset Balanced re-introduced into the Academy of Funds

We are pleased to re-introduce the BNY Mellon Multi-Asset Balanced fund into the Academy with an A rating. The fund was removed from the Academy in February 2018 following a number of changes to fund's long-term managers. The current team started managerial responsibility for the fund in January 2018 and make use of many of the same resources as the previous team, but their approach to asset allocation is different. Their approach is more pragmatic and benchmark aware and has less of an emphasis on capital preservation, with the latter being a feature of the previous team. We believe this fund may appeal to investors that have a long-term time horizon and who are looking for a multi-asset portfolio that will have a bias to equities. Key attractions we see of this fund are the conviction driven approach taken by the managers, the experience and tenure within the business of the lead manager, Simon Nichols, and the strength of the global analyst team that support the equity recommendations within the portfo ...

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The Big Question: Is multi-asset more important than ever?

In the third interview of the series, we are turning to multi-asset with John Chatfeild-Roberts, Head of Strategy - Jupiter Merlin team at Jupiter Asset Management and Justin Onuekwusi, Head of Retail Multi-Asset Funds, Legal and General Investment Management.

In this short video, they explore the evolution of multi-asset and how it can stay relevant in the current fast paced environment. John and Justin continue to discuss how they are incorporating ESG and Responsible investment in their portfolios amidst the increasing demand in this area, as well as share their outlook for the markets.

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New Allianz Global Investors and AXA IM Talking Factsheets added to the Academy of Funds

We have added two new Talking Factsheet to the Square Mile Academy of Funds, featuring Square Mile's Senior Investment Research Analyst, Eduardo Sanchez, who reviews the objectives and risks and giving our views on the AXA Framlington UK Mid Cap and AXA Framlington UK Select Opportunities funds.

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PIMCO Mortgage Opportunities fund Awarded an AA Rating

We are delighted to award a AA rating to the PIMCO Mortgage Opportunities fund. We believe PIMCO has one of the strongest franchises in the industry to manage securitised assets, with an experienced and well-resourced team that includes over 60 securitised analysts in the US, Europe and Asia. We like the managers' mixed investment approach where they combine government guaranteed, agency, bonds with more traditional credit market instruments, aiming to produce returns above cash in any market environment.

The fund's global reach, with a focus on the US mortgage market, should offer an additional source of diversification to investors' portfolios. We also think the fund's limited correlation to equity and credit markets should prove attractive to investors.

IA Responsible Investment Framework

The Investment Association has recently launched the first industry-agreed framework for common approaches to responsible investment (“Responsible Investment Framework”). This Framework categorises, and provides standard definitions for, the different components of responsible investment. This report accompanies the Framework and is intended to provide context, guidance and uses for the Framework as well as outline next steps and raise outstanding questions.

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Responsible A rating awarded to EdenTree Amity UK fund

We are delighted to announce that we have awarded a Responsible A rating to the EdenTree Amity UK fund. We hold this fund's managers, Sue Round and Ketan Patel, and their colleagues in the EdenTree Responsible Investment team in high regard and believe them to be both very competent and committed to the group's investment approach of 'profits with principles'. We see this fund as a very credible choice for investors seeking a responsible strategy in the IA UK All Companies sector.

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