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AXA IM launches People & Planet equity fund for UK investors

  • 21 June 2023

  • Smart Pension commits to new fund through its Sustainable Growth Plus Fund

AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM) has announced the launch of the AXA ACT People & Planet Equity fund, an unconstrained multi-cap global equity portfolio that aims to generate financial returns by investing in companies making measurable, positive contributions towards environmental and social progress, embodied in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

Smart Pension, the workplace pension provider, is the first institutional investor to indicate it is committing to the new fund through its flagship Sustainable Growth Plus fund, with its initial investment growing over time.

The UK-domiciled fund is an official reshaping and rebrand of the AXA Framlington Emerging Markets fund, effective as of 6 April 2023. It is co-managed by three AXA IM Equity fund managers – Anne Tolmunen (who manages the AXA WF ACT Social Progress fund), Tom Atkinson and Ashley Keet (who co-manage the AXA WF ACT Clean Economy and AXA WF ACT Biodiversity funds).

AXA IM’s established environmental, social and governance (ESG) and responsible investing capabilities drive the fund towards companies with the potential to grow while addressing some of the world’s most urgent social and environmental problems.

The strategy invests in companies that support three underlying sustainable growth themes that align with the UN SDGs:

  1. Social Progress – Improving access to essential services thereby increasing inclusion of underserved populations. Empowering people through education and supporting small businesses, enabling people to take care of their health, wellbeing and physical safety.
  2. Energy Transition – Investing in solutions which support the energy transition; renewable energy, digitalising electricity networks energy efficiency. Investing in the low carbon transport value chain across car makers, battery producers & enablers.
  3. Biodiversity – Facilitating recycling and contributing to a circular economy. Investing into agritech and food innovations, sustainable materials and water treatment and management solutions.

Commenting on the launch, Anne Tolmunen, co-manager of the AXA ACT People & Planet Equity fund, said: “We have launched this fund because we fundamentally believe that companies that make positive contributions to preserving the natural environment and improving people’s lives may achieve strong earnings growth and shareholder returns over the long term.”

Paul Bucksey, Chief Investment Officer at Smart Pension, said: “We are focused on achieving the best outcomes for our members, helping them secure not just long-term financial growth but also a safer, healthier world in which they can enjoy retirement. Smart Pension’s flagship growth strategy has been fully invested in sustainable funds for a while now, which we expect will play a key role in achieving our 2040 net zero target. We are delighted to be extending our partnership with AXA IM as we seek to provide even more impactful options for our members.”

Mark Hargraves, Global Head of AXA IM Equity, added: “At AXA IM, we believe that the SDGs offer an excellent framework for companies to create long-term value for society as well as sustainable financial returns for investors.  By 2025, the financing gap to achieve the SDG framework ambitions is estimated to reach around $6 trillion per year, and asset managers can play a vital role in directing capital towards initiatives that promote sustainability. This launch represents an expansion of our range of sustainable strategies for UK-based investors, as the demand for responsible investing continues at pace. We are delighted to partner further with Smart Pension who will be the first institutional investor to commit to this Fund, which brings together a number of AXA IM’s long-term sustainable capabilities”.

Engagement is a crucial part of the investment process. AXA IM emphasises direct dialogue with companies on sustainability and governance issues that have a material impact on long-term financial performance.

The fund forms part of AXA IM’s ACT range1 . It combines external SDG data with our own qualitative research to assess company contributions across sixteen UN SDGs.

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About Smart Pension

Launched in 2015, the Smart Pension Master Trust has grown from £100 million in AUM to £2.2 billion in four years, with almost 1 million members and 70,000 employers on the platform. It is powered by global savings and investments technology platform provider, Smart. Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM), J.P. Morgan, Fidelity International Strategic Ventures, Link Group, Natixis Investment Managers, Barclays, Chrysalis Investments and DWS Group are all investors in Smart.

We tweet as @SmartPensionUK

For media enquiries: pressoffice@smartpension.co.uk


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