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GSAM preps emerging market ESG fund in Singapore

The fund has invested in companies with at least an “average” ESG rating from MSCI.
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Goldman Sachs Asset Management is expected to launch in Singapore an ESG-focused product that invests in emerging markets, according to records from the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

This month, the firm filed an application with the regulator for its Emerging Markets Equity Portfolio to be sold to retail investors in the Lion City, records show. It is still awaiting approval from the MAS.

The fund, which was first made available in Europe last year, is not yet available for sale to accredited investors in Singapore, MAS records show. It is also not registered under Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission.

FSA sought more information from the firm, but it was not able to provide more details in time for publication.

The fund invests in emerging market companies that exhibit a strong or improving ESG leadership relative to their regional peers, according to the fund’s prospectus. It also excludes companies that are engaged in tobacco, alcohol, weapons, adult entertainment and gambling.

The fund, which now has $92m in assets, with 33% of the portfolio invested in Chinese markets, according to its fund factsheet.

Source: Fund factsheet. As of 31 October 2019.

Within its top 10 holdings, the fund has invested in companies that have at least average ESG rating scores by MSCI, according to data from the index provider. A number of these firms, with the exception of Samsung Electronics and Sberbank, have improved ESG scores from two-to-three years ago.

Source: Top 10 holdings from fund factsheet. ESG scores from MSCI

A number of emerging-market ESG-labelled products have been recently launched in Singapore.

They include four emerging market ESG bond funds managed by Blackrock and an emerging market corporate bond ESG product managed by M&G, which were launched this year, according to data from FE Fundinfo. Credit Suisse Asset Management also rolled out in 2017 its Equity Emerging Markets ESG Blue Fund, which is an equity product. None of them are registered with the SFC.

Separately, GSAM has also registered three other products for retail sale in Singapore, which are the Global Real Estate Equity Portfolio, Global Millennials Equity Portfolio and the Absolute Return Tracker Portfolio, MAS records show. The three products are already available to accredited investors in Singapore.

In Hong Kong, the firm just entered the retail market last year, after it received approval from the SFC to launch seven products. So far, it has been focusing on partnering with retail bank distributors in the SAR.

The Goldman Sachs Emerging Markets Equity ESG Portfolio versus its benchmark, the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, since inception

Source: FE Fundinfo. In US dollars. Note: The MSCI EM Emerging Markets ESG Universal Index is for reference use only and is not the fund’s benchmark index.


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