MAS names sustainability head; Malaysia’s EPF appoints COO and CFO; GIC PE head for SEA leaves; State Super hires new exec; Hesta appoints chief growth officer, chief Debby Blakey appointed to corporate governance board; ex-BlackRock exec joins IQ-EQ in Singapore; HSBC AM builds direct real estate team; ex-Vanguard head of distribution joins LGIM; Sanne names Singapore head; and more
The Japanese fund house has just launched a series of SRI-minded products and is integrating environmental, social and governance factors into its 20-strong team of analysts, says Minoru Kimura, deputy general manager and head of corporate planning.
"SRI is still not a big trend in Japan like it is in Europe or the US, but we think it might be the next opportunity," he says.
Nissay is producing not just the traditional eco-equity funds, which have a 10-year history in Japan. These work by screening orthodox equity funds for negative factors and emphasising stocks that are seen as pro-sustainable development, often using quantitative tools provided by outsiders such as Good Bankers.
In Nissay's case, it is relying on its own company analysts rather than an external provider's screen to take such factors into account.
It also believes SRI products needn't be limited to stocks, although it does plan to introduce a conventional equity SRI fund later this year to the retail market.
But Nissay is also preparing a global sovereign bond fund that will invest in countries seen to be actively supporting sustainable development (which means a high weighting towards Nordic and other northern European countries), as well as a Japanese real-estate investment trust that will build a portfolio of properties adhering to high environmental or energy-efficient standards.
Kimura says these products will initially target the retail market, which has already demonstrated an appetite for 'green' funds and for thematic funds that evoke environmental themes, such as utility or water funds.
Whether these will also appeal to institutional investors remains to be seen, although he notes that some trust banks such as Mitsubishi UFJ and Sumitomo have expressed the desire for SRI products to market at an institutional as well as a retail level.
Nippon Life has provided seed money for these new products. Nissay has already introduced last month an equity fund tilted towards companies with leading environmental technology. It has also just launched an equity fund for the healthcare industry that promotes wellbeing as well as traditional things such as pharmaceutical or medical-equipment manufacturers. For example, it will look to invest in companies that promote fitness, or even in Nintendo, maker of the Wii game station's popular Wii Fit module.
The AU$85 billion ($61.6 billion) Australian super fund has some exposure to indebted property developer Evergrande. Meanwhile, China’s construction finance is part of its core strategy in real estate.
Investors are seeing the risks, but also the opportunities of the logistics sector. Warehousing their fears for the moment, they can see it's a good conduit to high-growth assets.
Insto roundup: GPIF staff say J-Reits more attractive than traditional assets; Hong Kong's strict Spac criteria
EISS Super hit by another scandal; China's CSRC launches consultation on disclosure requirements for new BSE securities; Hong Kong issues consultation paper on Spacs; New World Development partners with China Taiping to focus on Greater Bay Area projects; GPIF employees say Japanese Reits have grown more attractive; Taiwan's BLF invites bid for $1.7 billion mandate; and more
SGX’s new framework for Spacs will likely provide investors with a much-needed channel for direct deals, but the verdict is still out on whether it will bring liquidity to the bourse.