Boutique equity manager 8IP (Eight Investment Partners) has opened its ‘Australian Equity Impact Fund’, previously available only to ‘sophisticated investors’, to the retail market.
The manager believes this is a first in Australia and capitalises on a trend among big institutional investors and some others to take ESG oversight of both stocks and fund managers to a new level.
The 8IP Australian Equity Impact Fund invests in ASX-listed companies that have a positive social or environmental impact and 8IP seeks to measure that impact. Investors are given detailed reports on the portfolio, currently consisting of 29 stocks, and its measurable social and environmental impact generally.
According to Brian Thomas, the recently appointed general manager of business and investments, the fund’s 13-month track record since inception is that it has produced a post-fee annual cumulative return of 23.6 per cent compared with the broad market index return of 13.2 per cent. Thomas joined 8IP last month after a leaving Perennial Value Management. He had previously held similarly senior positions at Macquarie and Credit Suisse.
He said: “This unique fund gives investors an opportunity to invest in a truly impactful way that was not previously available to investors with $10,000 to invest. Aside from the usual return and portfolio information, investors also receive a detailed impact assessment each year.”
Kerry Series, founder and CIO of 8IP, said: “We increasingly felt that there were sufficient listed companies to create an impact investing fund and so we seeded the 8IP Australian Equity Impact Fund in January 2017. My belief is that impact investing can produce attractive returns for investors as many of the underlying problems addressed by these companies are long-term megatrends.”
As an aside, the firm’s name stems from its roots investing in Asian markets, which has been one of Series’ past focuses. Eight is a lucky number in China. Series is one of the founders of what became Perennial after various iterations.