While we’re open to diverse methods of financing to help to boost the quantity and quality of social housing, our analysis suggested a clear gap between lending to well-governed, high quality institutions in the corporate bond market and the weaker sustainability case associated with equity-based REITs focused on social housing assets. Although the whole sector looks superficially attractive for sustainability focused funds, in our view, how and where you invest can make a real difference.
There is no ‘free lunch’ in buying social housing corporate bond issues, however, as not all housing associations are equal. With increased focus on the sector and despite significant issuance, we are seeing early signs that some investors are buying indiscriminately due to the high ratings and social label status, while ignoring latent balance sheet risks due to some issuers’ overemphasis on property sales. This highlights why we believe that a thorough and well-resourced bottom-up approach to active sustainable investing will ultimately deliver the best returns for clients.
Shalin Shah is a senior fund manager and manages the sterling credit portfolios of the Royal London Asset Management (RLAM) sustainable funds; Tom Johnson is an investment analyst in the sustainable investments team.
The value of investments and the income from them may go down as well as up and is not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the amount invested.
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For Professional Clients only, not suitable for Retail Clients. This is a financial promotion and is not investment advice. The views expressed are those of the authors at the date of publication unless otherwise indicated, which are subject to change, and is not investment advice.
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Issued in October 2021 by Royal London Asset Management Limited, 55 Gracechurch Street, London, EC3V 0RL. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, firm reference number 141665. A subsidiary of The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Limited.
For Professional Clients only, not suitable for Retail Clients