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SJP switches ethical management

Standard Life Aberdeen suffers another fund defection

Standard Life Aberdeen has suffered a further setback after St. James’s Place appointed Impax Asset Management to run its £286m Ethical fund.

The Ethical fund will no longer be managed by SLA’s senior investment manager Jamie Cumming.

It is the latest blow to Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management, which merged last summer in an attempt to stem the flow of investor redemptions.

SLA saw just over $10bn of outflows in the first half with its Gars fund, once Europe’s largest, suffering the second biggest outflow among all European products.

The company lost a £109 billion mandate to manage money for customers of Scottish Widows, part of Lloyds Banking Group which is understood to have narrowed the new manager to two candidates. SLA, which has mounted a legal challenge against the move, has seen its shares slump by more than 25% this year.

Impax’s Kirsteen Morrison and David Winborne will take control of the Ethical fund, with SJP investing £286m into Impax’s Global Opportunities strategy, subject to regulatory approval.

The Ethical fund will be renamed the Sustainable and Responsible Equity fund in order to better describe the investment process.

Investing in a range of global companies, the fund will be looking for stocks that benefit from the transition to a more sustainable global economy.

Chris Ralph, CIO at SJP, said: “These developments reflect our continued commitment to identifying new investment opportunities for our clients and selecting the best fund managers from across the globe to manage our range of funds, providing a tangible demonstration of the benefits of our investment management approach.

“Our focus remains to provide clients with a diversified range of funds to meet their long-term investment objectives.”

Ian Simm, CEO of Impax, said: “Being selected by SJP to run their sustainable strategy for their clients is a great honour and testament to Impax’s approach and the team’s track record.

“The strategy for the fund will move beyond merely applying a negative ethical screen to taking a positive approach, which is the hallmark of our successful investment style of the past 20 years.

“This reflects the changing needs of the private client market who want to invest with managers who are proactively supporting the development of a more sustainable economy.

“As demand from clients for more oversight on how their money is invested increases, the potential for the strategy to grow as it becomes St. James’s Place’s core sustainable strategy is obvious.”

SJP removed a £1.3bn emerging markets mandate from Aberdeen in 2016.

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