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Asset manager roundup: Natixis launches thematics affiliate

Natixis Investment Managers has created an affiliate specialising in high-conviction, active global thematic investment strategies.

Based in Paris, Thematics Asset Management will offer strategies focusing on themes including safety, water, and artificial intelligence and robotics.

It will be led by Karen Kharmandarian in the position of chairman and chief investment officer, and Mohammed Amor as managing partner and head of development. 

According to a statement, the management team had “strong expertise in bottom-up stock picking, identifying the companies exposed to long-term secular growth themes that should deliver risk-adjusted returns superior to those of broader global equity markets”.

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François Riahi, chairman of Natixis Investment Managers’ board and CEO of Natixis, said the launch of Thematics Asset Management was a response to long-term structural changes underway across all sectors of the global economy, “turning a long-term trend from a challenge into an opportunity”.

WTW adopts integrated system for fiduciary management

Willis Towers Watson has appointed SimCorp Dimension to provide a consolidated platform for its fiduciary management business.

The agreement means the consultancy’s investment arm will use one core, consolidated investment platform for all asset classes across its investment portfolios.

According to a statement, SimCorp Dimension will provide a “comprehensive solution for the management of global assets”, including performance measurement and attribution, pre- and post-trade compliance, and production of digital, customisable client reporting.

Kemp Ross, global head of delegated investments at Willis Towers Watson, said: “As our business evolves to meet the growing needs of our clients, it is vital that we continue to invest in our technology capabilities.”

BNPP steps up sustainability efforts

BNP Paribas Asset Management (BNPP AM) has launched a firm-wide sustainability strategy focused on the themes of energy transition, the environment and equality.

According to the asset manager, “robust” implementation plans for the four components of sustainable investment would “collectively strengthen the way that BNPP AM invests and delivers long-term returns; how investment ideas are generated; how risk is managed and how the company uses its influence with companies and markets”.

Under the strategy, which is to be implemented over the next three years, BNPP AM will integrate environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) factors into its investment process. The manager said this would include investment philosophy, research and idea generation, portfolio construction, risk management, engagement, voting, disclosure and reporting. 

The goal was for every investment process and strategy to have been reviewed and approved by an “ESG validation committee” by 2020.

The strategy also involved BNPP AM developing objectives and key performance indicators relating to its three priority themes, “addressing how it will align its investment research, portfolios, and company and regulatory engagement in support of each”.

Next year, the asset manager will introduce measurement and reporting on the impact and progress of its sustainability initiatives, introducing additional targets over time.

Frédéric Janbon, CEO of BNP Paribas Asset Management, said: “The global sustainability strategy and related investments in our team and our systems, reflects our increased ambition and outlines a blueprint to mainstream sustainability in all that we do – through our investment processes, but also engagement with our staff, companies, policy makers and wider society.”

Jane Ambachtsheer, global head of sustainability, added: “As an asset manager, we have the potential to help influence [the] world around us and adopt the role of ‘future maker’. Through our global sustainability strategy, we aim to set the standard for leadership in sustainable investment.”

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