Impax CEO on not drinking the sustainability Kool Aid

Ian Simm discusses clients' different approaches to thematic investing

Can you tell us about Impax’s thematic range?

We have a thematic range on our Irish platform, which covers the environmental markets strategy. This includes a small- and mid-cap focused thematic product, our Leaders strategy, which is more mid-cap oriented, and then a global opportunities [fund], which is our principal sustainability lens strategy.

In terms of products for the future, our policy is not to launch lots of new opportunities. There will probably be a new one coming out later in the year where we’re looking at the thematics around dividend payment and high rates of current cash for distribution. This is an area where clients are showing strong interest.

Have conversations around thematics and sustainability with clients changed?

If you take a retail investor who’s interested in their money doing something positive for society, then to be able to say there’s a thematic product in, for example, water or sustainable food, is reassuring and chiefly a pretty welcome and attractive proposition.

If you go to a more professional investor who’s looking at risk profiles and performance relative to a benchmark, then the thematic range can be unappealing because it’s generally seen as too different, too risky compared with just investing passively and the full basket for benchmark.

But the transition to a more sustainable economy can be a signpost for high rates of growth, while the risk relative to the main market is much lower.

Read the full Q&A in ESG Clarity’s July 2022 digital magazine.


Natasha Turner

Natasha is global editor at ESG Clarity, part of Mark Allen Financial, and has been a financial journalist for seven years. She has been shortlisted for Story of the Year and Investment Journalist of the...