South Africa’s largest black-owned asset manager, Sanlam Investments, is looking to raise an additional R35-billion for its range of impact funds. The funds aim to make a real sustainable difference to people, communities and the environment. Sanlam injected R2.25-billion of its capital when it launched the Investors’ Legacy range in 2020 and has ambitions to attract like-minded investors to deliver on its goal of creating and preserving thousands of jobs and bolstering economic recovery.
This was reported in the first Sanlam Investments Responsible Investment and Stewardship Report released recently. The report shows the depth of the asset managers’ commitment to becoming the leading sustainable investing (aimed at improving environmental, social and governance outcomes) and purpose-driven impact asset manager on the continent.
Nersan Naidoo, Chief Executive of Sanlam Investments, says the asset manager’s purpose has evolved well beyond just wealth creation. “We are anchored in a greater purpose: to create positive outcomes for investors, our economy and society over the long term, while limiting negative ones.”
While Sanlam Investments’ responsible investment journey has been in progress for years, it was accelerated in 2020 when the asset management industry reached a critical inflexion point. “The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the world collectively beginning to view things differently. We’ve seen responsible investing take centre stage as a tool for economic recovery and sustained social and environmental change,” says Naidoo.
Sanlam Investments moved quickly in 2020, investing R2.25-billion of Sanlam capital to seed the three Investors’ Legacy Range funds which aim to preserve and create jobs and reignite economic growth. To date, the funds have positively impacted an estimated 3 000 jobs of their targeted 27 000 jobs.
“We are as committed to achieving this target as we were when the funds were launched, and our teams are working tirelessly to make this happen,” says Naidoo.
The funds operate within disciplined impact measurement frameworks that target certain UN Sustainable Development Goals.
A strategic partnership with Robeco – one of the world’s most established and leading sustainable investing practitioners since 1995 – was another key development for Sanlam Investments in 2020.
The aim of the partnership is to help Sanlam Investments fast-track the integration of sustainable investing practices into every facet of their business, with the end goal being to enable clients to achieve their sustainability-driven goals while providing superior investment returns and solutions.
Additionally, Sanlam Investments’ index tracking business, Satrix, launched two environmental, social, and governance (ESG) enhanced exchange-traded funds last year, MSCI World and Emerging Market ESG Enhanced Exchange Traded Funds. Both these indices are designed to maximise their exposure to positive ESG metrics while also explicitly reducing exposure to carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHG) as well as their exposure to potential emissions risk of fossil fuel reserves by at least thirty percent (30%). The indices hold no weapons or tobacco companies, or companies involved in severe controversies.
In the report, Sanlam Investments also notes that in 2020 it engaged 176 times with listed entities on ESG related matters on topics ranging from remuneration policies and procedures to cybersecurity, use of single-use plastics, board composition and biodiversity.
Naidoo says embedding robust ESG practices at every level of the organisation has been, and continues to be, a huge focus for the business – this spans investment processes within equities, fixed income, private markets and alternatives as well as our engagements with clients and in our governance procedures.”
The full report can be found here (https://bit.ly/3te5h8I).