Investment Service and Product Launches

Domini Impact Investments releases mutual fund; FIDx partners with American Equity and Eagle Life; and ASI launches several ESG-focused funds.

Art by Jackson Epstein

Art by Jackson Epstein

Domini Impact Investments Releases Mutual Fund

Domini Impact Investments LLC, an investment adviser specializing exclusively in impact investing, has launched the Domini International Opportunities Fund.

This new mutual fund combines core exposure to international equity markets through the lens of the impact investor, with an allocation to solution-oriented companies helping to address some of the greatest sustainability challenges. This fund was built to capitalize on the success of the U.S. equity strategy used by the Domini Impact Equity Fund since December 2018.

“We are excited to replicate the approach of the Domini Impact Equity Fund for use in another region. Investors can now geographically diversify their portfolios while helping promote universal human dignity and ecological sustainability around the world,” says Carole Laible, CEO of Domini.

The Domini International Opportunities Fund combines two investment strategies:

Through its “core” strategy, the fund invests across developed international markets, primarily in Europe and the Asia-Pacific regions, and across most industries in a broad, diversified selection of companies that demonstrate strong environmental and social performance relative to their peers, as determined by Domini’s proprietary research and analysis of each company’s impact.

Through its “thematic solutions” strategy, the fund adds opportunistic exposure to a select number of solution-oriented companies in which Domini has strong long-term conviction and that it determines support certain sustainability themes, including the low-carbon transition, access to clean water, sustainable food systems, financial inclusion and more. 

Under normal market conditions, Domini expects to allocate approximately 80% to 95% of the fund’s net assets to the core strategy and the remaining 5% to 20% to the thematic solutions strategy. 

All the fund’s investments are evaluated on environmental and social factors using proprietary research guided by Domini’s Impact Investment Standards. These standards, with fundamental goals of universal human dignity and ecological sustainability, serve as the foundational framework for the research used across all of Domini’s investment strategies.

The fund will also leverage Domini’s engagement experience to amplify its impact. As with all Domini funds, it will use a combination of engagement tools, including the disciplined use of proxy voting and direct dialogue with corporate management teams.

Laible and Domini’s Founder and Chair Amy Domini serve as co-portfolio managers for the fund. Its investor shares (ticker: RISEX) and institutional shares (ticker: LEADX) are open to investment as of November 30.

FIDx Partners with American Equity and Eagle Life

Fiduciary Exchange LLC (FIDx) has partnered with insurance providers American Equity Investment Life Insurance Co. and Eagle Life Insurance Co.

The partnership makes annuity solutions from both insurance entities available to financial advisers through FIDx by way of the Envestnet, Envestnet | MoneyGuide and Halo platforms, as well as directly through FIDx’s Protection Intelligence platform.

“American Equity and Eagle Life are industry leaders who add depth and breadth to our product offering,” says Rich Romano, chief executive officer at FIDx. “At FIDx, we are embarking on a mission to completely revolutionize the industry, and this addition of American Equity and Eagle Life underscores our commitment to delivering on our promise of names you know and products you need by being a platform you’ll love.”

For insurance providers American Equity and Eagle Life, the partnership opens access to their products at a time when many individuals are worried about having enough income in retirement.

“This partnership furthers our mission of providing income stability for retirees through innovative and secure products,” says Anant Bhalla, chief executive officer at American Equity. “We are proud to partner with FIDx and advance our technological platforms to more seamlessly connect financial advisers with our annuity products to better address the needs and goals of individuals entering retirement.”

Ted Hughes, chief information technology officer at American Equity, adds, “At American Equity, we continually seek ways to improve the digital experience of our customers. Our partnership with FIDx will help us accomplish that goal and accelerate the execution of our AEL 2.0 strategic plan by helping evolve our digital and technological capabilities through online marketplaces.”

ASI Launches Several ESG-Focused Funds

Aberdeen Standard Investments (ASI) has launched four equity mutual funds as part of a move to cement its position as a market leader in ESG investing.

The Sustainable Leaders Funds will seek to generate strong long-term performance by investing in financially attractive companies that have been identified as current and emerging leaders in managing environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities. In addition to identifying current or emerging sustainable leaders through bottom-up fundamental research, limited negative screens will be used to rule out a list of unacceptable activities, which are believed to give rise to risks that clients should avoid exposure to. 

The funds are called: Aberdeen International Sustainable Leaders Fund, Aberdeen US Sustainable Leaders Smaller Companies Fund, Aberdeen US Sustainable Leaders Multi Cap Fund and Aberdeen Emerging Markets Sustainable Leaders Fund.

Ralph Bassett, head of North American equities, explains, “Globally we are respected for our history and capability in responsible investing. This suite of products will allow us to showcase the best of our fundamental research in a form being demanded by North American clients. We believe that ESG analysis and corporate engagement can mitigate risks and enhance returns for our clients, as companies with robust ESG practices tend to enjoy long-term financial benefits.”