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BNPP AM to roll out multi-asset ESG funds in Singapore

Several other asset managers are also expected to launch more sustainable products in the Lion City.

BNP Paribas Asset Management has filed an application with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to launch the BNP Paribas Funds Sustainable Multi-Asset Balanced and the Sustainable Multi-Asset Growth funds, according to the regulator’s website.

The firm expects both offerings to be launched in 2021, according to Christian Bucaro, BNPP AM’s Singapore CEO and head of strategic distributor relationships for Asia-Pacific.

“We are presently in talks with a few distributors with regard to onboarding these funds,” Bucaro noted.

The funds have already been made available to professional investors in Hong Kong, Bucaro said, adding that the firm has plans to roll them out to retail investors in the SAR by 2021.

The funds were first launched in Europe in 2001 and 1998, respectively, according to data from FE Fundinfo.

Both multi-asset funds invest in ESG companies through equities and bonds. The balanced fund will have a 50/50 weighting in both asset classes, while the growth fund is more aggressive, with 75% of its assets invested in equities, according to the funds’ prospectus.

The prospectus noted that for both funds’ equity sleeves, they will invest directly or indirectly through other mutual funds or ETFs that comply with the sustainable development criteria that cover ESG.

Assets of the firm’s “Sustainable +” range of products, which include enhanced ESG strategies (such as multi-factor and best in class ESG products), thematic funds and impact strategies, increased 8.5% this year to €68.4bn ($79.6bn) as of end-June from €63bn at the end of 2019. They account for 15% of the firm’s total AUM of about €440bn.

Of the different sustainable products that the firm offers, demand for its ESG thematic strategies surged, with assets nearly doubling to €13bn in 2019 from  €7.7bn in 2018.

BNPP AM’s move to launch more funds in Singapore also comes after the MAS has urged asset managers to launch more ESG and sustainable funds.

“Asset managers should seize this opportunity to launch robust green and sustainable focused fund strategies, in anticipation of rising demand from investors in a post-Covid-19 world,” Jacqueline Loh, deputy managing director at the MAS, said in a keynote speech during the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network Virtual Conference in Singapore.

Several other firms are also expected to launch more sustainable funds in Singapore, including Pimco, Blackrock, JP Morgan Asset Management, Manulife Investment Management, Schroders, Mirova, a Natixis Investment Managers affiliate, and Fidelity.

BNPP AM already offers other ESG- or sustainable-focused products in Asia. For example, the BNP Paribas Energy Transition Fund is available for retail investors in Hong Kong and Singapore, while the BNP Paribas Smart Food Fund has been rolled out to professional investors in both jurisdictions, according to a Hong Kong-based spokesman of the firm.

The firm’s Aqua Fund is also available to qualified investors in mainland China via its qualified domestic limited partnership (QDLP) licence, which allows foreign managers to raise money in China, within assigned quotas, to invest in offshore investments, he added.

Part of the Mark Allen Group.