Aberdeen Standard Investments (ASI) launches the Aberdeen Standard Focused Sustainable Australian Equity Fund (the Fund), as it looks to capitalise on its long track record in global environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing to promote sustainable and responsible investing in Australia.
The Fund is ASI’s first sustainable Australian equity product, and seeks to generate strong long-term performance by investing in an all cap, concentrated portfolio of 20 to 35 financially attractive ASX listed companies that have been identified through ASI’s rigorous bottom-up stock selection as sustainable leaders and improvers in managing ESG risks and opportunities. The fund will target a weighted average carbon intensity at least 20% lower than its benchmark, the S&P /ASX200 Accumulation Index*.
The launch of the Fund sees ASI deploy its globally recognised ESG investment capabilities within the Australian equities market at a time when local investors are demanding greater access to an increasingly diverse offering of sustainable and responsible investment products.
The Fund is managed by ASI’s high performing Australian equities team, led by Head of Australian Equities Michelle Lopez and Deputy Head of Australian Equities Natalie Tam.
ASI’s dedicated Responsible Investment and Stewardship function of over 20 ESG specialists conducts thematic ESG research used by it’s on-desk ESG specialists to complement their industry insights and bottom-up ESG analysis, in order to deliver high impact company engagements and actionable ESG insights.
ASI’s Responsible Investment team will also provide top-down support to the fund’s management team, using its proprietary ESG scoring methodology – which incorporates ASI’s own voting and internal analytical insight data – to identify high risk companies for active exclusion, rather than relying wholly on third party research providers.
This allows ASI to take its own views on sector-specific risks into account, enabling a broader assessment of operations and governance risks, rather than just ESG factors.
“The decision to launch the Aberdeen Standard Focused Sustainable Australian Equity Fund now is a reflection of clients’ increasing demand for funds which are focused on investing in more sustainable companies,” Michelle said.
“The notion that looking for ‘sustainable’ companies compromises performance is outdated; at ASI we believe sustainable leaders and improvers are better managed, more proactive, and better positioned to deal with upcoming challenges related to major environmental and social change. We want more Australians to be able to take advantage of these benefits.”
ASI Managing Director Australia Brett Jollie said the firm had a strong track record of responsible investing, stretching across almost three decades.
“We have a long heritage of integrating ESG factors into our equity process, and we’re excited to take the next step in the Australian market with the launch of our inaugural sustainable and responsible Australian equity product, the Aberdeen Standard Focused Sustainable Australian Equity Fund,” Brett said.
“We’ve also got one of the largest dedicated ESG resources in the industry, including our central Responsible Investment and Stewardship teams, our on-desk ESG equity specialists and more than 120 equity investment managers responsible for the ESG assessment of each of our companies.
“We’re looking forward to the success of the fund and we plan to roll out a broader range of sustainable and responsible products in the near future.”