Phoenix Group has assigned £338m (€380m) of with-profits investment funds to a new multi-asset climate solution to be managed by Robeco.

The new solution forms part of Phoenix Life and Standard Life’s wider with-profits strategic asset allocation, it was announced.

This will add another diversified source of return that aims to meet the long-term investment objectives for with-profits customers through a balanced portfolio of equity and credit, that invests in the climate change leaders of today and the future, and companies pursuing a net-zero decarbonisation strategy.

The startegic asset allocation will include: 20% in net zero 2050 climate equities, 20% in climate global bonds (credit), 15% in smart-energy equities, 10% in sustainable property equities, 110% in global green bonds, 10% in SDG high yield bonds, 10% in smart materials equities and 5% in smart mobility equities.

After a competitive search process, international investment manager Robeco was selected to manage this multi-asset climate solution.

James Mitchell, head of strategic partnerships and research at Phoenix Group, said: “At Phoenix, we are continuing to find ways to create a sustainable future for all, including renewed investment into social housing, infrastructure and cutting-edge green technologies. Our partnership with Robeco drives forward this commitment across different asset classes as we aim to be net zero throughout our investment portfolio by 2050.”

Bfinance completes management buyout

The management team of global investment consultancy bfinance has undertaken a buyout of the firm, with the purchase of a 51% stake formerly held by Baird Capital. The transaction has been supported by Beach Point Capital Management.

The consultancy has enjoyed significant growth through recent challenging conditions. Both the pandemic and the subsequent macroeconomic climate have brought Bfinance new opportunities to assist pension funds, charitable foundations, university endowments, insurers, wealth managers and other clients.

The firm’s revenues have increased by around 70% since 2018, with particularly strong growth in the private markets and portfolio solutions divisions, it said.

The transaction preserves the firm’s position as a pure-play global investment consultant following a 15-year period when many firms have consolidated, merged and launched asset management services.

Bfinance’s ability to remain a standalone investment consultant is largely due to its differentiated model, technological capabilities and fee structures that are designed to minimise the cost burden on investors, the firm added in a statement announcing the buyout.

David Vafai, chief executive officer at bfinance, said: “The continued growth, complexity and transformation of the global asset management market combined with Bfinance’s unique competitive positioning offer a tremendous opportunity for us to create even more value for clients in this next phase of our growth.”

FRC adds signatories to UK Stewardship Code

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has today announced an increase in the number of signatories to the UK Stewardship Code following the publication of its updated list.

The regulator received 105 applications, of which 88 were successful, taking the total number of signatories to 254, up from 235 in September last year. This includes 179 asset managers, 58 asset owners and 17 service providers.

The additional signatories bring the total assets under management of the list to £46.4trn, up from £40.7trn.

The more diverse range of business models and investment styles among successful applicants is a positive indication of the broader adoption of responsible investment practices across the industry. There was also an encouraging level of re-applications from previously unsuccessful organisations which used the FRC’s feedback to improve how they reported the outcomes and impact they are delivering through effective stewardship, the Council said.
The FRC noted better reporting in this application cycle, which included disclosure of stewardship activity spanning multiple years, and encourages all signatories to use their report as an opportunity to demonstrate their ongoing progress.

The FRC will continue to place emphasis on reporting of activities and outcomes for its assessment of reports received in 2023. High-quality, informative case studies are expected from all signatories, it added.

The FRC has extended the asset owners’ deadline for submitting annual stewardship reports for the spring window to 31 May 2023. The deadline will remain 30 April 2023 for asset managers and service providers. For the October 2023 deadline, the FRC will only accept renewal applications from existing signatories.

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