BNP Paribas Asset Management (BNPP AM) has entered into a strategic partnership with CODE Investing, an alternative finance platform, to boost the French investment group’s ability to invest in loans to small and medium-sized businesses.

BNPP AM will now be able to tap into loan opportunities through CODE, which is the UK’s institutional marketplace for small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) debt.

The arrangement with CODE, which originates loans, will provide the asset manager with direct lending access to unsecured SME loans of between £500,000 and £5m.

“Given the structural shift in the way that SMEs access financing, we are very pleased to have entered into a partnership with CODE Investing as part of the development of our SME alternative financing franchise,” said Stephane Blanchoz, head of SME alternative financing at BNPP AM.

“As BNPP AM expands its SME lending capability in the UK and in continental Europe, the partnership will be key in originating loans to enable us to provide clients with an attractive investment offering.”

Ayan Mitra, CEO and founder of CODE Investing, said: “CODE aims to deliver a more streamlined, certain and user-friendly experience to SMEs in search of growth capital. With our emphasis on institutional – rather than retail – lenders, we believe CODE’s marketplace will ultimately be able to provide SMEs with an aggregate view of financing available to them in the market.”

In a separate move, BNPP AM has signed up to a code of transparency sponsored by the UK’s Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS).

Introduced in May 2017 by the LGPS’s scheme advisory board, the code is designed to increase transparency of investment costs and charges for local authority pension funds, with the data provided in a standardised format.

At present, the code is voluntary but the aim is for it to be adopted across £260bn of local government pension scheme assets as “the gold standard for cost transparency”, BNPP AM noted.

Disclosure templates drawn up by the LGPS informed the work of the Institutional Disclosure Working Group, whose recommendations on displaying asset management costs won the backing of the UK regulator yesterday.

More than 55 asset managers have signed up to the LGPS disclosure code.

FRR keeps Russell Investments on transition management duty

Russell Investments has won a new global portfolio transition management mandate for FRR, France’s €36bn pension reserve fund.

The mandate will allow FRR to manage portfolios through transition periods under the auspices of Russell Investments Implementation Service. 

Russell said the transition process would include carrying out buy and sell orders on financial instruments that originate from FRR’s asset managers.

Dominique Dorlipo, president, Russell Investments France, said: “Our clients in France and globally have come to expect consistency in the quality of our service from our dedicated team. Our transition management value proposition is strong, and we’re very pleased to serve the FRR through this renewed mandate.”

The move represents the third consecutive mandate awarded to Russell Investments by FRR since its appointment in 2010.