Long term savings and investment company Standard Life announced the launch of four new responsible investment funds offered to pension savers, focused on climate change gender diversity, and sustainability. The new funds expand the range of responsible investment offerings for the company, which include ethical and shariah funds, bringing the total number of responsible funds offered to 16. Standard Life expects to continue expanding the range in 2021.

Gareth Trainor, Head of Investment Solutions, Standard Life, said:

“Attitudes to investing are changing, driven by a growing awareness of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors and how they might affect their investment outcomes. Many people in the UK are passionate about fighting climate change and the need for greater gender diversity within organisations, so we’re introducing funds that focus on these issues, along with two new sustainable investment funds that will complement our existing range of Responsible Investment self-select funds.”

Standard Life’s new responsible investment funds include:

  • SL Nordea Global Climate and Environment Pension Fund: Invests globally and aims to achieve long-term capital growth through a diversified portfolio of equity or equity related investments in companies which are expected to benefit either directly or indirectly from developments related to environmental challenges such as climate change.
  • SL Nordea Global Gender Diversity Pension Fund: Invests in companies that are Gender Diverse, present strong fundamentals and develop their business in an attractive way; focuses on companies who have at least one third of high level management positions held by the minority gender and companies who show a positive trend in increasing and promoting diversity.
  • SL ASI Sustainable Index UK Equity Pension Fund: Passively managed, the fund aims to generate returns in a sustainable manner compared to its World parent index, using a range of ESG approaches.
  • SL ASI Sustainable Index World Equity Pension Fund: Passively managed, the fund aims to generate returns in a sustainable manner compared to its World parent index, using a range of ESG approaches.

Trainor added:

“Our latest customer research cements the trend we have been seeing. There is a growing focus on ESG by investors; with the majority of our customers (70%) believing that responsibly invested funds will in the long-term outperform funds outside of this sector. Furthermore, there is a genuine increasing interest in broader issues, particularly the environment and climate change from our customers. While risk and performance remain the most important priorities, the majority of our customers say they are prepared to take on slightly or moderately more financial risk if their investments are prioritising areas that are important to them.

“We are working with a number of investment partners to expand the range, and will continue to add more in 2021. We are very much responding to the growing interest in responsible investments we are seeing, not just from customers, but from clients, trustees and their advisers. By the end of this year, we will also be offering an ESG default pension solution which will be a multi asset portfolio for employers aimed at meeting the needs of the majority of their workplace scheme members.”