Martin Currie launches its first social impact fund

Lauran Halpin

Edinburgh-based Martin Currie, the specialist investment manager of Franklin Templeton, has announced the launch of its first social impact fund.

A sub-fund of the Franklin Templeton Global Funds plc range domiciled in Ireland, the FTGF Martin Currie Improving Society Fund is categorised as Article 9 under the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR).

It will be registered for distribution initially in France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Sweden and the UK.

Franklin Templeton has $1.4 trillion in assets under management.

“This new social impact global equity fund aims to deliver long-term capital growth while advancing fairness
of social opportunity and narrowing the equality gap,” said Martin Currie.

“It will invest in a concentrated, high conviction and long-term portfolio of 20-35 companies globally that contribute to three impact pillars: improving well-being, improving inclusion and supporting a just transition toward a sustainable economy.

“With more than 70 years of combined investment experience in global and international investing, the fund’s investment team consists of Martin Currie’s Edinburgh-based Lauran Halpin, Portfolio Manager and Head of Impact Equities, and John Gilmore, Portfolio Manager, Impact Equities and Stewardship, Sustainability & Impact Specialist.

“David Sheasby, Head of the Stewardship, Sustainability and Impact team, will act as an advisor to the investment team; Sheasby has expertise in active ownership and impact frameworks.”

Halpin said: “These objectives have historically been grossly underfunded and abandoned in some communities to focus on other important issues like climate change and Covid-19.

“The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates there is a $2.5 trillion annual funding gap in meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“There is a significant opportunity to create impact at scale by investing in companies that are contributing to pressing societal needs like providing access to clean drinking water, healthcare and education as well as financing job re-skilling for working in a green economy.”

Anne Simpson, Global Head of Sustainability, Franklin Templeton, said: “Martin Currie’s Improving
Society Fund is an exciting new offering that will leverage the team’s deep expertise in both sustainability
and stewardship.

“With a focus on social impact, we believe there is opportunity to deliver superior risk adjusted returns to our clients by investing in companies that contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”