AbrdnSep 30 2021

Abrdn launches absolute return ESG fund

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Abrdn launches absolute return ESG fund

Abrdn has launched the Responsible Global Asset Strategies fund, which will take an absolute return approach while investing in assets which promote environmental, social and governance standards. 

The fund will be made up of 20 to 30 investment strategies that span geographies and asset classes. 

It targets a return of more than 5 per cent over cash and a volatility of 4 to 8 per cent a year over three-year periods.

The fund is classed as Article 8 under EU rules and as such avoids companies and countries with high or poorly managed ESG risks.

It is managed by Katy Forbes, Gerry Fowler and Catie Wearmouth of the multi-asset solutions team and charges 1.35 per cent a year for retail investors.

We think that it is possible to invest responsibly without sacrificing returns.Katy Forbes

Abrdn said it was designed for investors who want a greater focus on responsible and sustainable issues, including climate change, "without sacrificing returns".

Forbes, head of absolute return at Abrdn, said: “We think that it is possible to invest responsibly without sacrificing returns. We aim to identify opportunities which offer attractive returns and that we believe are responsible.” 

Justin Simler, Abrdn's global head of multi-asset strategy and specialists, added: “We believe that investors increasingly care much more about how their money is invested and want to understand and manage the risks more effectively.

"This new strategy broadens our responsible, sustainable range and complements our newly launched multi asset climate funds.”  

The managers of the new fund will implement Abrdn’s absolute return approach alongside a combination of ESG integration, screening and enhancement criteria, together with responsible stewardship. 

The team will avoid investing in activities that present particular risks such as controversial weapons or companies engaged in coal extraction or power generation using coal.  

It also avoids the lowest rated companies in the riskiest sectors and the lowest-rated sovereigns, which currently include the sovereign bonds or currencies of China, Turkey and India.

To assess ESG risk, the team uses Abrdn’s ESG House Score developed by its central ESG investment team. The team ranks countries according to ESG and political factors and excludes those with the highest risk.

For its core global equity allocation, the fund targets a 50 per cent reduction in weighted average carbon intensity compared with passive global equities.

Abrdn launched a trio of climate funds in July under its former brand Aberdeen Standard Investments. 

The firm has since change its name to Abrdn in a move to refocus the business following the sale of the Standard Life brand to Phoenix.