LiontrustOct 7 2020

Liontrust sees ESG assets triple in three years

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Liontrust sees ESG assets triple in three years

The assets managed by Liontrust’s sustainable investment team have tripled since 2017 as investor demand shifted to ESG.

A half-year trading update, published today (October 7), showed sustainable assets at the firm had increased from £2.5bn in 2017 - the assets Liontrust acquired with Alliance Trust Investments - to £7.5bn as at September 2020.

John Ions, chief executive at Liontrust, said: “With an increasing number of people saving for their future, investors are demanding more from their investments in engaging companies and helping to deliver a cleaner, safer and healthier world for the future.”

Mr Ions said Liontrust has benefited from a focus on areas of investment where it had expertise in, linking the growth of its sustainable arm to this “focus on clients”.

Liontrust has honed in on sustainability over the past few years. In April, Mr Ions told FTAdviser sustainably had been “rising up the agenda” and that there would be “even more focus” on ESG investing post-coronavirus.

Today’s results showed the fund house’s assets under management stood at £20.6bn as at September 30 — 28 per cent more than the £16bn recorded in April this year.

The majority of the growth in assets came from £2.9bn of positive market movements, as markets rallied from the coronavirus-induced market crash in March.

But Liontrust also enjoyed strong inflows, with investors piling £1.75bn into its funds in the six-month period and advisers accounting for £1.6bn of the figure.

Mr Ions said: “The strong momentum of the business over the past few years has continued through the Covid-19 crisis. 

“This is testament to our fund management teams and their robust investment processes, strong relationships with clients, the power of the brand and how successfully everyone at Liontrust has adapted to the current environment. 

“This is demonstrated by the clarity and speed of our communications since March, providing reassurance to and insights for our clients.”

Just last week Liontrust announced an overhaul of its fund range in a move which will see five funds disappear from its offering and multiple fund managers leave the business.

It is to sell its Asia Income Strategy and the rights to the Liontrust Asia Income fund to Somerset Capital Management for around £2m, while its European income and macro-thematic investment teams are earmarked for closure.

The funds will be merged into existing portfolios while the managers will leave the business.

Mr Ions said he was “positive” about the outlook for both Liontrust and active management in general, adding that the fund house could “continue to grow” through the proven capability of its investment teams, strong sales and “excellent” communication with clients.

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