Aberdeen Standard Investments drives ESG investment in Asia

Aberdeen Standard Investments has formed a “strategic partnership” with the Asian Infrastructure Bank to drive environmental, social and ethical investment in emerging markets in Asia.

The move entails the $500m (£398m) AIIB Asia ESG enhanced credit managed portfolio managed by ASI on behalf of AIIB. It will comprise primarily Asian infrastructure related bonds including both green and unlabelled issuances, with ESG factors “fully integrated” in the investment process and portfolio management.

The portfolio was approved by the AIIB board of directors in December 2018. ASI was awarded the contract to manage it following a competitive bidding process.

ASI said it will work closely with AIIB on the launch of the sustainable capital markets initiative, which aims to “catalyse” ESG investing strategies, improve ESG standards and build capacity around responsible investing with market participants including corporate bond issuers, rating agencies and index providers to “improve disclosure” and expand ESG rating coverage in emerging Asia.

Figures published by Fund EcoMarket earlier this week revealed that financial advisers’ interest in ESG investment rose dramatically over the past year.

The site, which is designed to help intermediaries navigate the world of ESG retail investment, saw its number of visitors rise three-fold, as it registered 9,400 unique users in the 12 months to 30 June 2019, up from 3,100 unique users in the previous 12 months.

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Standard Life Aberdeen chairman Douglas Flint says: “We are truly honoured to be entrusted by AIIB with this important partnership. Having been investing in Asia for three decades, Aberdeen Standard Investments shares AIIB’s commitment to deepening the region’s capital markets and building a sustainable ESG ecosystem for investing.

“ESG investing has always been part of our DNA. The significant need for more infrastructure investment in Asia offers a real opportunity to embed ESG principles, while countries and communities accrue the long-term social and economic value that comes from the asset class.”

Aberdeen Standard Investments is the asset management business of Standard Life Aberdeen.

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