India’s Axis Mutual Fund has announced the launch of an Environmental, Social and Governance equity fund. The fund will employ several ESG strategies, including excluding certain specific sectors, such as alcohol and tobacco, screening out stocks that are deemed to have high ESG risk, and performing qualitative ESG analyses of each portfolio company.
Axis’ ESG fund will be managed by Jinesh Gopani, Head of Equities, and Hitesh Das, Fund Manager – Foreign Securities. The fund will allocate up to 30% to foreign stocks, and will invest across market capitalization categories.
Axis CEO Chandresh Kumar Nigam expressed his belief that employing ESG strategies can lead to superior investment returns, commenting:
“We at Axis AMC believe that ESG is a logical extension to our philosophy given our core focus towards quality and sustainable growth. By combining ESG analysis with traditional financial metrics we can come up with a more holistic understanding of each company in our portfolio. We have faith that the Axis ESG Equity Fund by investing in a portfolio of such companies will have strong potential to offer its investors a rich source of alpha.”
India has seen the launch of several ESG mutual funds in the past few months. In July 2019, Quantum Mutual Fund launched its Equity ESG fund, and SBI Mutual Fund recently reclassified an existing fund as the SBI Magnum Equity ESG Fund.