Global asset manager Aberdeen Standard Investments (ASI) announced today the launch of a new Asian-focused, UN SDG-aligned equity fund. The company stated that the new Aberdeen Standard SICAV I – Asian Sustainable Development Equity Fund will invest in quality Asian companies that aim to deliver an attractive return while making a positive contribution to society.

UN SDGs, or Sustainable Development Goals, refer to 17 categories of targets adopted by world leaders at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015, with the aim to protect the planet and improve quality of life globally.  The UN SDGs set targets to achieve a broad range of aspirational goals, including ending poverty and hunger, improving education, and protecting the environment.

David Smith, Head of Corporate Governance – Asia Pacific, said:

“While some progress has been made towards achieving the UN’s SDG’s by 2030, people in many Asian countries are still not benefiting from growth and progress and are increasingly vulnerable to economic, social and environmental risks. By investing in companies based or operating in Asia Pacific economies, which are strongly aligned to the UN’s SDGs, this new Fund seeks to deliver both attractive return for our clients and a positive societal impact – where it matters most.”

According to ASI, the new fund will invest in companies in Asia Pacific countries, excluding Japan, aiming to achieve growth by leveraging the firm’s established eight-pillar framework for assessing a company’s alignment to the SDGs. The fund will use an active investment strategy, seeking to drive positive changes in corporate behavior, and encouraging better disclosure of SDG alignment by companies.

The fund will invest in a portfolio of 30-60 high-conviction stocks, and will be managed by ASI’s 50-strong Asia Pacific Equities team. ASI stated that the fund will also benefit from the extensive knowledge and expertise of the investment manager’s central team of 20 ESG experts, as well as its ESG analysts within the wider Global Emerging Markets Equities team.

Flavia Cheong, Head of Asia Pacific Equities, said:

“ESG has been part of our investment DNA for almost three decades. As responsible investors, we believe that supporting the SDGs creates tangible opportunities for Asian companies to contribute positively to society and the environment, while enhancing the long-term financial value of their businesses.”

The fund will be benchmarked relative to the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Index (USD), aiming to outperform the index before charges. The fund has initially been registered for sale in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.