Altius Asset Management has launched the Altius Sustainable Bond fund, a diversified Australian fixed interest portfolio that is designed to align with investors’ personal and social values without compromising investment returns over the long term.
The fund was launched after a successful book build period in late November.
Bill Bovingdon, chief investment officer of Altius, says every well-diversified investment portfolio should include an exposure to bonds but investors seeking responsible investment choices in fixed income have had few options available to them.
“Unfortunately there are limited investment options available to investors looking for fixed interest investments managed with regard to environmental, social and corporate governance principles. As a result, fixed income may have been left out of their investment portfolios, which has restricted diversification and performance.
“Often investors use bank-issued hybrids as their main solution. However hybrids include equity-like risks so lack the defensive characteristics that bond investors require.
“We are seeing an increasing number of investors mentioning responsible investing as a consideration for them and decided to launch a fund that meets this growing demand while at the same time delivering solid, stable returns.
“Bonds will be automatically excluded from the fund’s investment universe if the primary business activity of the issuer is clearly at odds with the fund’s ESG principles. This includes activities such as production of armaments, uranium and tobacco.
“The remaining investment universe is screened in line with the Altius Sustainability Policy, with companies in the universe given a sustainability rating which is incorporated into the portfolio construction process.
“This ranking process is intended to assess the impact of the company’s operation on the well-being and sustainability of the community and environment in which it operates,” Mr Bovingdon says.
“To provide investors with a voice on how the investment universe is formed and evolves over time we have established the Altius Sustainability Advisory Committee which consists of two investor representatives. The current members include the cornerstone investor groups, Matthew Moore senior portfolio manager from Uniting Financial Services who sits on the Uniting Church (NSW) Synods Ethical Investment Committee and is a former director of the Responsible Investment Association Australasia and Trevor Thomas from Ethinvest.”
The Altius Sustainable Bond fund joins the other funds in the Altius stable – the Altius Bond Fund and the Strategic Fixed Interest Trust.
Altius Asset Management is a boutique fixed interest asset management business, responsible for more than $500 million in funds under management. The business was formed through a joint venture with Australian Unity Investments in 2011.
For more information please contact:
Bill Bovingdon – Phone: 02 9112 4701
3 December 2014