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Firms to launch ESG bond funds in Singapore

JP Morgan AM's product invests in global sustainable bonds, while Manulife IM's fund focuses on Asia.

Both JP Morgan Asset Management and Manulife Investment Management have filed an application with the Monetary Authority of Singapore to launch fixed income sustainable bond funds in the Lion City.

The JP Morgan fund is the Global Bond Opportunities Sustainable Fund, while Manulife IM’s product is the Sustainable Asia Bond Fund, the regulator’s records show.

The JP Morgan fund was launched in November 2019 and is only currently available in Europe, according to data from FE Fundinfo. It invests in sustainable debt securities, which the firm believes are issued by companies and countries that demonstrate effective governance and superior management of environmental and social issues, according to its factsheet.

Meanwhile, the Manulife Sustainable Asia Bond Fund is expected to be launched in the Lion City this month, according to its prospectus. It will invest at least 85% of its assets in US dollar-denominated bonds issued by companies and governments in Asia, who demonstrate strong sustainability attributes relative to peers or have demonstrated improving sustainability attributes, it added.

FSA contacted the two firms for more information, but they both declined to provide more details about the funds.

Other fixed income products that have an ESG focus include four products managed by Blackrock.

Other asset managers are also expected to roll out ESG funds in Singapore this year, including a mixed-asset ESG product from Schroders, and equity products from Fidelity and Mirova, a Natixis Investment Managers affiliate.

The MAS is also encouraging firms to launch ESG and sustainable products in the Lion City.

“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.

Part of the Mark Allen Group.