Aberdeen Standard Investments, the global investment manager, has announced the launch of the UK Equity Impact – Employment Opportunities Fund*, in collaboration with Big Issue Invest, the social investment arm of The Big Issue. The Fund will be managed by Lesley Duncan, Investment Director, Aberdeen Standard Investments.
The aim of the Fund is to generate a financial return over the long term by investing in companies which promote and implement good employment opportunities and practices. Generally companies will have more than 50% of their employees in the UK. The Fund Manager will identify companies for their potential to grow and sustain strong long-term financial returns and then they will be assessed to determine if they are committed to delivering sustainable employment opportunites. Creating good employment opportunities is one of the most significant benefits business brings to society and human capital management has moved to centre stage in corporate strategy. Investment in skills and attracting talent has become a basis for competitiveness, productivity and growth.
The impact criteria will typically include companies paying above average wage rates, being located in deprived areas, offering training opportunities and/or employing young people with the majority of those being in the UK.
Lesley Duncan, Fund Manager, Aberdeen Standard Investments, said:
“The strategy of the UK Equity Impact – Employment Opportunities Fund is designed to meet the dual objectives of strong financial returns, while supporting good employment opportunities and practices. 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.
“Good employment is fundamental to all aspects of personal and social wellbeing. The Fund offers investors a clearly defined means of investing in companies demonstrating best practice within human capital management, while seeking to deliver a competitive financial return over the longer term.”
Commenting on the collaboration, Nigel Kershaw OBE, Chair The Big Issue Group, said:
“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. A percentage of the Fund’s manangement fee will go to The Big Issue Group, enabling the organisation to deliver this mission by continuing to finance social enterprises and charities offering business solutions to social problems, across sectors including employment and training, health and well-being and financial and social inclusion. To date Big Issue Invest has invested in over 350 such organisations, including a recent investment in Mental Health and Employment Partnerships which is an innovative Social Impact Bond dedicated to helping people with profound mental health issues to secure work.”
The Fund will be actively managed, allowing analysts and the manager to engage with the companies, questioning their ability to deliver financial returns as well as ensuring that the identified employment impact remains a significant part of the strategy and aims.
The Good Economy Partnership, a social advisory and data analytics firm specialising in measuring social impacts, has been commissioned by Big Issue Invest to help develop the rigorous impact assessment framework that is being applied across the Fund’s investment universe.
While the focus of the Fund is on employment opportunities, the manager of the Fund will be mindful when investing in companies whose activities, products and services may not be deemed to be aligned to, or are incongruous with, the other United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
* The Fund is an OEIC managed by Standard Life Investments
Notes to editors – Aberdeen Standard Investments
- Aberdeen Standard Investments is a leading global asset manager dedicated to creating long-term value for our clients, and is a brand of the investment businesses of Aberdeen Asset Management and Standard Life Investments.
- With over 1,000 investment professionals we manage £569.7 billion* of assets worldwide. We have clients in 80 countries supported by 50 relationship offices. This ensures we are close to our clients and the markets in which they invest.
- We are high-conviction; long-term investors who believe teamwork and collaboration are the key to delivering repeatable, superior investment performance. We are resolute in our commitment to active asset management.
- Aberdeen Standard Investments is the asset management business of Standard Life Aberdeen plc, one of the world’s largest investment companies.
- Standard Life Aberdeen plc is headquartered in Scotland. It has around 1.2 million shareholders and is listed on the London Stock Exchange. The Standard Life Aberdeen group was formed by the merger of Standard Life plc and Aberdeen Asset Management PLC on 14 August 2017.
*as of 30 September 2017
Notes to editors – Big Issue Invest
- Big Issue Invest (BII) is the social investment arm of The Big Issue Group. We extend the mission of The Big Issue by providing investment to social enterprises and charities seeking to dismantle poverty and create opportunity for people across the UK.
- BII invests between £20K and £3 million in organisations seeking repayable financing options, helping them to scale up and maximise their social impact.
- Our vision is to create a “social merchant bank” - by social entrepreneurs, for social entrepreneurs, and our main areas of focus are employment and training, financial and social inclusion, health and well-being, education, tackling homelessness and community driven development.
- Since 2005, we have made more than 350 investments and we currently manage or advise on more than £170 million worth of social funds.
- BII pays any dividends generated by our investments to our parent company, The Big Issue.
- Big Issue Invest is also helping to pave the way for 3.4 million social housing tenants to potentially improve their credit files, by partnering with Experian on The Rental Exchange.
Notes to editors – The Good Economy
The Good Economy (TGE) is a social advisory firm focused on the role of business and finance in building a Good Economy: an economy that works for everyone. TGE provides research, strategy consultancy and impact measurement and management services to a broad range of clients, including government, leading asset managers, private equity investors, specialist impact investors, large and small businesses and social enterprises. Highly respected for its intellectually robust and innovative work on the design of impact investment products and impact assessment methodologies, TGE works at the forefront of financial innovation as a driver of inclusive and sustainable development.
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