Investment manager Maple-Brown Abbott has launched the Maple-Brown Abbott Australian Sustainable Future Fund, which looks to play an active role in supporting positive environmental and social outcomes.
Formerly the Maple-Brown Abbott Responsible Investment Fund, the Australian Sustainable Future Fund provides investors with exposure to a diversified portfolio expected to deliver strong risk-adjusted returns over the long term.
Moreover, it invests across a range of companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange and will typically hold 25–40 stocks, with a minimum initial investment of $20,000.
Maple-Brown Abbott chief executive officer and managing director, Sophia Rahmani, said the fund leverages the firm’s resources, expertise in Australian equity investing, and its history of focusing on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors.
“We believe investors can help shape a better future,” she said.
Ms Rahmani explained that tackling the challenges facing society requires purposeful capital investment to enable solutions. To this end, she said the fund can support companies it considers to be making a positive difference by giving them access to capital they need to invest, which doesn’t need to be at the expense of strong financial returns.
According to Emma Pringle, co-portfolio manager of the fund alongside Chris Hotop, the fund uses a screening strategy to identify companies that make a positive contribution to one or more of its sustainable investment themes, as per the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
“We are interested in knowing the likely real-world outcome of the companies we invest in, how they are contributing to solutions that will help create a better Australian future,” Ms Pringle said.
In assessing companies, Maple-Brown Abbott considers the degree to which revenue is derived from products and services that support its sustainable investment themes, as well as its ability to support them in the future, she explained.
“This is particularly evident in investing for a low carbon future, for example, where the needs of an energy system in transition will be different in the future than they are today.”
Moreover, Mr Hotop said that identifying companies that will positively contribute to a sustainable future, as well as deliver strong risk-adjusted returns over the long term, requires an active management approach.
“The fund uses the value-driven approach of Maple-Brown Abbott’s Australian Value Equities team to invest in listed Australian companies that contribute to positive environmental or social outcomes.”
This takes a “bottom up” stock selection process, driven by in-depth fundamental analysis from the firm’s investment team, to identify stocks that have been undervalued by the market and that it expects to deliver income and long-term capital growth to investors, Mr Hotop concluded.