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Investment restrictions eased for France’s €30bn ERAFP

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ERAFP, the €29.6bn French pension fund for public servants, has been granted permission to invest more in unlisted assets, real estate, and mutual funds.

Up to 45% of the pension fund’s portfolio can now be invested in “equities and funds of unlisted assets”, an increase of five percentage points, according to a statement.

The limit on real estate investments was also raised, from 12.5% to 15%, with real estate debt permitted to represent half of the book value of ERAFP’s investments, rather than the previous 25%.

ERAFP has also been granted more room to invest directly in UCITS funds, with the cap on these investments being raised from 3% to 10%.

The changes to the regulatory investment framework for the pension fund were provided for by an ordonnance – a type of statutory instrument in France – published in July, which entered into force in early August.

It followed other rule changes permitting greater diversification. A change in late 2018, for example, raised the limit on private equity and unlisted infrastructure to 5%, from 3%.

In a statement, ERAFP said the move “increases the investment policy’s scope for maintaining a well-balanced portfolio over time as well as its responsiveness – particularly useful additions in the current economic environment”.

“This is intended to boost its potential returns and increase its contribution to the financing of companies,” the fund added. 

In its annual report for 2018, ERAFP indicated it planned to raise the target allocation to real estate from 10% of assets to 11.5-12%, and to grow the share of variable income assets from 32% to 33-34% of the portfolio, including an increase in private equity and infrastructure fund investments.  

Climate change analysis tenders

Separately, the pension fund this week announced the search for one or more consultancies specialising in measuring climate change-related “risks and opportunities”.

It wants help with using indicators such as carbon footprints and “contribution to the energy transition” to measure various investment portfolios’ exposure to climate change-related risks and opportunities. The portfolios in question are: euro-zone, European, North American, Pacific region and French equities; international convertible bonds; euro and US dollar denominated OECD and emerging market corporate bonds; and government bonds.

ERAFP is also looking for a consultancy to measure its real estate, infrastructure and private equity portfolios’ exposure to climate change-related risks and opportunities.

The deadline for applications is 8 October at noon Paris time. 

Since 2016 ERAFP has used Trucost – now part of S&P Global – in partnership with I Care & Consult, Grizzly Responsible Investment and Beyond Ratings to analyse the climate change-related risks and opportunities of its listed assets portfolio. The latter two merged in July last year under the name Beyond Ratings.

ERAFP has worked with Carbone 4 on its real estate, private equity and infrastructure portfolios.

The pension fund was recently identified as one of a group of responsible investment leaders by the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). The members of the Leaders’ Group, a new initiative by the PRI, were presented in Paris at the organisation’s annual conference earlier this month. The group consists of 47 asset owners that were recognised for their work in selecting, appointing and monitoring investment managers in listed and private equity.

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