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Bell launches sustainable equity strategy

Quality the focus as global equities near all-time highs

Melbourne-based global equity manager, Bell Asset Management, best known for its small and mid-cap equity strategies, has a launched a new ‘sustainable’ equity strategy.

The Bell Global Sustainable Fund will add to the firm’s growing suite of products and offer another option for diversification, as a number of leading equity managers continue to underperform.

With global equity markets once again trading at all-time highs and many experts predicting lower long-term index returns, finding an edge and ensuring that equity strategies are exposed to the most powerful themes will only become more important.

  • There is little doubt that sustainability and ESG considerations will be central to this, with many predicting trillion-dollar capital flows for the next 50 years to be directed towards those companies investing in or delivering more sustainable business operations.

    The Bell strategy will be an actively managed portfolio of 30 to 50 global stocks, seeking to outperform the MSCI World index, meaning it will likely tilt towards more of the large- and mega-cap stocks. The fund is long-only and will aim to exhibit a stronger aggregated ESG score than the index it seeks to outperform, along with targeting 25 per cent lower carbon emissions.

    As it stands today, the portfolio’s carbon intensity is 74 per cent lower than the benchmark. The portfolio will follow Bell’s broader investment philosophy which is self-described as “quality at a reasonable price,” with Bell believing that “company quality will ultimately drive share prices over time, and as such we aim to identify leaders within their respective sectors.”

    According to Bell a high-quality company is one with an attractive combination of: quality management, consistent profitability, franchise strength, financial strength, favourable business drivers and of course, ESG considerations. Importantly, these include the combination of negative screens, targeted ESG ratings and ESG integration into valuations, not just an after-the-fact filter.

    The fund has been rated as Recommended by Zenith Investment Partners and comes at a cost of 0.95 per cent a year, with no performance fee.

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