Big Issue Invest has partnered with Aberdeen Standard Investments to launch its first equity vehicle, the UK Equity Impact–Employment Opportunities fund.
Managed by investment director Lesley Duncan, the fund will invest in companies that promote and implement good employment opportunities and practices, the firm says.
The portfolio will typically comprise companies where at least 50 per cent of staff are based in the UK.
Duncan will seek to identify growth companies able to sustain strong long-term financial returns. Having met this criteria, companies will then be measured on their commitment to delivering sustainable employment opportunities.
Believing that investing in skills and talent to be a firm basis for competitiveness, productivity and growth, the group says this focus has now become “centre stage” in corporate strategy.
The impact criteria will typically include companies paying above average wages, being located in deprived areas and those offering training opportunities or hiring young people.
Duncan says: “By investing in quoted UK companies the fund seeks to harness equity market returns while also helping to direct significant capital in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 8 – full and productive employment.
“A special job assessment framework underpins the investment process, guiding portfolio selection and helping the fund meet its impact objectives, thereby helping to address inequalities in the UK.”
Big Issue Invest has commissioned The Good Economy Partnership, a social advisory and data analytics firm specialising in measuring social impact, to help develop the impact assessment framework for the fund.
This is the second impact fund for Aberdeen Standard Investments, following the Global Equity Impact fund that was launched in October 2017 for Sarah Norris and Dominic Byrne.
The Big Issue Group chair Nigel Kershaw says: “The collaboration with Aberdeen Standard Investments will help Big Issue Invest advance its mission to dismantle poverty and create opportunity for people and communities across the UK.”
Big Issue Invest will retain 20 per cent of the fund’s 1.3 per cent annual management charge. The ongoing charge figure for the retail share class stands at 1.34 per cent.