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Blackrock readies EM ESG funds in Singapore

The asset management giant is also expected to launch three thematic funds in the Lion City, according to records from the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Blackrock will be offering four emerging market-focused ESG fixed income funds in the Singapore market, subject to regulatory approval, MAS records show. The funds are the ESG Emerging Markets Blended Bond Fund, the ESG EM Bond Fund, the ESG EM Corporate Bond Fund and the ESG EM Local Currency Bond Fund.

The funds are domiciled in Luxembourg and were incepted in July this year, according to their prospectus. The funds’ reference benchmarks are ESG indices created by JP Morgan.

JP Morgan launched the indices in April in collaboration with Blackrock, according to an earlier statement from the bank.

“Up until now ESG in emerging market debt has been more bespoke and project-based, as opposed to providing solutions at scale,” Sergio Trigo Paz, head of emerging market debt at Blackrock, said in the statement.

“Establishing these benchmarks will be instrumental in redefining the investment universe and setting an industry standard to help make ESG investment within emerging markets debt more broadly accessible to all investor types,” he added.

Blackrock’s ESG funds are not yet available for sale to Singapore’s accredited investors, according to data from FE.

The funds are also not for sale to retail investors in Hong Kong, according to records from the Securities and Futures Commission.

FSA sought more information from Blackrock, but the firm was not able to reply in time for publication.

Separately, the firm’s prospectus noted that its Flexible Multi-Asset Fund, which is available for sale in Hong Kong and Singapore, will be renamed as the ESG Multi-Asset Fund.

However, it did not say when it will apply its new ESG investment approach, which includes taking into account ESG factors as well as excluding investments in companies that have exposure to controversial weapons, thermal coal extraction and generation and tobacco.

Thematic funds

The firm also lodged applications in Singapore for four other mutual fund products, including a global bond income fund and three thematic funds, according to MAS records.

The thematic funds are the Future of Transport Fund, the Fintech Fund and the Next Generation Technology Fund.

Like the emerging market ESG funds, the products are newly created. The global bond was incepted in July and the three thematic funds in September. All funds will invest in global markets.

In total, Blackrock has 110 MAS-approved funds, which includes 25 ETFs, for accredited investors and 74 approved funds, including 3 ETFs, for retail investors in Singapore, according to FE data.

In Hong Kong, the firm has 92 SFC-authorised funds, which includes 17 ETFs.

Part of Mark Allen.