Martin Currie launches first social impact fund

Long-term capital growth while advancing fairness of social opportunity and narrowing the equality gap

Martin Currie, a specialist investment manager of Franklin Templeton, has launched its first social impact fund.

The FTGF Martin Currie Improving Society fund is a global equity fund, categorised as Article 9 under the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation. 

It aims to deliver long-term capital growth while advancing fairness of social opportunity and narrowing the equality gap. 

The fund will invest in a concentrated, high-conviction and long-term portfolio of 20 to 35 companies globally that contribute to three impact pillars: improving wellbeing, improving inclusion and supporting a just transition toward a sustainable economy.

Working on the investment case for the fund are Martin Currie’s Edinburgh-based Lauran Halpin (pictured), portfolio manager and head of impact equities, and John Gilmore, portfolio manager for impact equities and stewardship, sustainability and impact specialist. 

Halpin said the societal objectives the fund invests in “have historically been grossly underfunded”.

There is a “significant opportunity” to create impact at scale by investing in companies that are contributing to pressing societal needs like providing access to clean drinking water, healthcare and education as well as financing job re-skilling for working in a green economy, she added.

Halpin said the fund will invest in companies innovating to address societal needs with long-term growth potential, “which in turn encourages cash flow and returns and reinvestment into addressing other societal issues”.

“Companies with products that make a difference in people’s lives can benefit from long-term profit pools generated by ongoing societal needs and ultimately gain a competitive advantage,” she said.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development estimates there is a $2.5trn annual funding gap in meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals, she pointed out.

David Sheasby, head of the stewardship, sustainability and impact team, will act as an advisor to the investment team. He has expertise in active ownership and impact frameworks.

A sub-fund of the Franklin Templeton Global Funds range domiciled in Ireland, it will be registered for distribution initially in France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Sweden and the UK.