Rathbones launches new sustainability fund

Written by Rebecca O'Connor on 13th Jun 2018

Rathbones added more weight to the sustainable investment movement this week with the announcement of its intention to launch a new global sustainability fund.

Rathbones joins a raft of asset managers that have recently launched sustainability or positive impact funds, including Hermes Asset Management and Aberdeen Standard, as an increasing body of research points to the positive financial returns from this approach, as well as environmental and social benefits.

The fund, from Rathbone Unit Trust Management, will be launched next month, subject to regulatory approval, and will aim to provide a total return in excess of the FTSE World index, over the long term (a minimum of five years), from a portfolio of global equities which meet the fund’s sustainability criteria.

It will be available to individual investors investing in stocks and shares ISAs and SIPPs via DIY investment platforms.

The fund will invest in companies whose activities or ways of operating are aligned with sustainable development and, therefore, support the achievements of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The fund will actively engage with companies to encourage positive change and will also avoid businesses engaged in unethical or unsustainable practices.

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David Harrison, the fund manager, will be supported by the broader equity team and will work closely with Rathbone Greenbank Investments, Rathbones’ established ethical and sustainable investment division.

Rathbone Greenbank Investments also provides the screening for the £1.2 billion (31 May 2018) Rathbone Ethical Bond Fund.

David joined Rathbones in 2014, having worked as a portfolio manager at a number of firms including Hermes Investment Management and Merrill Lynch Portfolio Managers, where he focused on investing in companies engaged in positive environmental, social or governance impacts.

The multi-cap fund, which will typically invest in 30-50 securities, intends to follow a similar investment process as Rathbones’ income team, led by Carl Stick, through its focus on fundamentally strong companies with high levels of cash-generation. While there is no income target for the fund, its investment approach is likely to produce a level of income.

Two share classes will be available at launch, both with a minimum investment of £1,000. The fund will be available to DIY investors via platforms.

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Mike Webb, chief executive, Rathbone Unit Trust Management, said: “The launch of the Rathbone Global Sustainability Fund was the next logical step for us, building on the success and strong growth of the Rathbone Ethical Bond Fund. There is a growing cohort of clients who want to make a positive impact with their investments, and the launch of this equity fund will help meet this demand.”

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