Heng An Standard Life (HASL), a joint venture between Standard Life Aberdeen and Tianjin TEDA International, has been granted the final approval to launch pension investment products in China, it announced today.

It said it was only the ninth insurance company, and the first foreign invested joint venture business, to have received this permission.

It comes almost two years after HASL, which was formed in 2003, was in 2019 given the green light to set up a pensions insurance company in China. The company then, as today, said it had been “for a number of years” harbouring ambitions to offer pension products in the country.

China has an ageing demographic and as a result, the country’s long-term savings system is expected to shift from a predominantly state pension provision to a focus on occupational and individual savings, HASL said in a statement today.

“Growth in China is one of our most important global opportunities, not least due to the significant potential in the nascent pension market,” said Stephen Bird, chief executive officer of Standard Life Aberdeen:

“The opening of a pensions business for HASL reflects the strength of our proposition, the relationships the company has built in the region, and our ongoing commitment to the Chinese market.”

Being the first foreign invested joint venture to receive this approval was “a fantastic development that significantly enhances our ongoing investment in HASL,” Bird added.

Tabula claims Paris-aligned first

Tabula Investment Management, an European fixed income ETF provider, claims it has launched the world’s first bond ETF aligned to the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The ETF will aim to track an index built in accordance with the EU Paris-aligned benchmark requirements, a spokesman confirmed. Tabula worked with Solactive and ISS ESG to develop the ETF’s benchmark, the new Solactive ISS Paris-Aligned Select Euro Corporate IG Index.

In a statement, Tabula said it expected “impact funds will take over the ESG thematic” and that Paris climate benchmarks would likely become a core allocation for investors with climate concerns. EU climate benchmarks are the outcome of part of the European Commission’s sustainable finance action plan.

To date, there have not been any passive fixed income funds or ETFs offering exposure to the EU Paris-aligned benchmark, according to Tabula. Last month Robeco announced the launch of actively managed fixed income strategies compliant with the EU benchmark 

The Tabula EUR IG Bond Paris-aligned Climate UCITS ETF will deliver exposure to euro investment grade bonds from companies with 50% lower greenhouse gas emissions when compared to the broad market, and an annual decarbonisation of at least 7%.

It excludes bonds from companies that have violated ‘social norms’ – on human rights and labour, for example – to those selling controversial weapons and tobacco, and from companies that cause significant environmental harm.

“Tackling climate change is arguably the defining issue of our age and addresses a major risk to all investment portfolios,” said Michael John Lytle, Tabula’s CEO. “Investors need to utilise specialist climate solutions, and there needs to be a major shift of large asset pools into a range of climate impact investments.”

Tabula said it aimed to actively engage with index providers to improve ESG standards across new and existing fixed income indices.

Invesco launches ‘Summit Responsible Range’ 

Invesco has launched the Invesco Summit Responsible Range – five risk-targeted global multi-asset funds – in a bid to “mak[e] responsible investing accessible to all”.

The fund-of-funds range will typically invest in low-cost ETFs, which will offer an affordable investment solution for investors looking to incorporate ESG considerations into their portfolios.

The funds aim to invest 100% of their assets in investments meeting certain ESG criteria, the firm said. The Summit Responsible fund range will initially be available to all UK investors.

Invesco has worked with index providers to create customised ESG indices for the Invesco funds selected for the range and has also pioneered a new framework of asset allocation, coining the term “Responsible Asset Allocation” (RAA), which forms the foundation for this new range of multi-asset funds, it said.

The funds have three objectives: to grow the assets invested over the long term (five years+) by investing across a variety of regions, asset classes; to invest 100% in investments that meet certain ESG criteria; and for each fund to adhere to a specific risk level.

Clive Emery, fund manager at Invesco, said: “The multi-asset team believes responsible asset allocation is a key additional development to traditional multi-asset investing. Working with our in-house expertise across investment and ESG, we have been able to create the building blocks for this fund range, that enable broad access to financial markets, whilst also positively and substantively increasing their ESG credentials.”

Franklin Templeton starts investment institute

Franklin Templeton has launched an investment institute, a hub for research and knowledge sharing that will “unlock the firm’s competitive advantage as a source of global market insights”, it announced this week.

Stephen Dover, currently head of equities, has been named chief market strategist and head of the investment institute. Terrence Murphy, CEO of ClearBridge Investments, will take on an expanded leadership role as head of equities for Franklin Templeton.

“With these appointments and the launch of the investment institute, we are doubling down on what sets our firm apart—unmatched insight and research from experts on the ground in over 70 offices around the globe,” said Jenny Johnson, president and CEO of Franklin Templeton.

“In this time of significant uncertainty, we are uniquely positioned to help clients find signal amid the noise. Whatever the issue, whatever the region, we will marshal diverse perspectives and proprietary analysis to best serve our clients,” she added.

Dover and Murphy will both begin their new roles on 1 February, reporting to Johnson.

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