In Brief

iShares files for Environmental Infrastructure and Industrials ETF

Portfolio companies 'support energy efficiency and emissions mitigation'

BlackRock’s iShares intends to launch a new ETF that invests in companies that support energy efficiency and emissions mitigation.

The firm filed an initial registration statement August 10 with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the iShares Environmental Infrastructure and Industrials ETF, which could begin trading as soon as late October.

The ETF would seek to track results of the FTSE Green Revenues Select Infrastructure and Industrials Index, which includes domestic and international securities ranging from small to large cap, according to the initial prospectus. The companies in the portfolio would be those that “provide infrastructure and industrials solutions aiming to support energy efficiency and emissions mitigation, pollution reduction or land and resource optimization,” the prospectus states.

That can include energy efficiency products for buildings, smart grid components, low- or no-emission freight designs, carbon capture, clean-water services, pollution reduction and recycling, among other categories.

The index excludes tobacco, controversial weapons, civilian firearms and coal, generally, as well as companies that appear to violate United Nationals Global Compact principles.

BlackRock’s Jennifer Hsui, Greg Savage, Paul Whitehead and Amy Whitelaw would be the portfolio managers on the Environmental Infrastructure and Industrials ETF.

Calvert hires head of institutional business

Von Hughes most recently was a partner at Paamco Prisma

Calvert Research and Management has hired a leader for its institutional business, the company announced Thursday.

For the new position, the firm brought on Von Hughes, who most recently was a partner at Paamco Prisma, where he served as global head of strategic advisory and client acquisition.

Hughes, who’s based in New York City, reports to Calvert CEO John Streur.

His responsibilities include “expanding Calvert’s institutional offering, cultivating deeper partnerships across the institutional marketplace, evaluating the growth prospects for new products and services and broadening Calvert’s impact through educational initiatives,” the company said in its announcement.

“Von is an accomplished leader and established expert in corporate governance and pensions and has a track record of success building and shaping institutional platforms,” Streur said in the announcement. “His deep experience in the asset management industry extends across disciplines and uniquely positions him to advance Calvert’s global leadership by delivering impact alpha through the framework of Calvert’s Principles for Responsible Investment as investor needs evolve.”

The need for the new leadership role follows increased demand for responsible investing, particularly among institutional clients, the company said. Recently, Calvert has expanded its core research and management teams, and has introduced investment strategies to the European market, it noted.

Prior to his work at Paamco Prisma, Hughes was a vice president at Goldman Sachs in the equity capital markets group. He is also an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School, teaching a course in public pensions and retirement security.

Nuveen hires ESG leader from Janus Henderson

Kelly Hagg joins as the company puts more resources into responsible investing

Nuveen has established a new leadership role within its responsible investing ranks, hiring Kelly Hagg from Janus Henderson, the company announced Wednesday.

Previously, Hagg had been global head of product strategy and ESG for distribution at Janus Henderson, where he had been for 19 years.

In the new position at Nuveen, Hagg is head of responsible investing strategy and solutions, “responsible for driving firm-wide coordination and alignment of resources in support of responsible investing commercialization initiatives,” the company said in an internal memo that was shared with the press.

“Kelly will also lead the delivery of distinct, value-added capabilities that create stronger relationships with existing clients while attracting new ones and expanding market share.”

Hagg is Based in Denver and reports to Nuveen’s global head of responsible investing, Amy O’Brien. He started at Nuveen Aug. 8.

At Janus Henderson, Hagg focused on product opportunities and building the company’s ESG business, though he was also previously an assistant general counsel at the firm. Earlier this year, Hagg spoke with ESG Clarity about being on board while Janus Henderson first began exploring sustainable investing. The company launched five actively managed sustainability-themed ETFs last year.

Nuveen’s responsible investing business has been an area of growth at the company, and it has increased its focus on it over the past year, O’Brien said in the memo. That has included new resources from the company’s legal, risk and risk departments as well as investment teams and TIAA’s retirement business, O’Brien stated.

In a statement, Janus Henderson thanked Hagg for this time at the company, confirming that his departure was effective Aug. 3.

“Over the past several weeks, Kelly has ensured a thorough transition of his role to various members of the product team, who will take on his responsibilities moving forward in the near term,” the firm stated. “Long-term plans for the position are still under consideration. We are confident that with the breadth of experience and expertise across our product team, we will see no disruption to our cohesive approach to ESG or product strategy.”

This story was updated to include the above statement from Janus Henderson.

Fidelity adds sustainable funds to 529 business

The company is the third-biggest player in the college savings market

Fidelity has added sustainable investment options within its 529 college-savings plan business, the company announced this week.

It has launched versions of its Sustainable Multi-Asset Portfolio within a total of five plans in Connecticut, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, the company said in a statement.

The firm is the third-largest 529 college savings plan investment manager, behind Vanguard and Capital Group, according to a report from Morningstar. Fidelity manages eight plans and has about 9% of the market share.

The additions of the investment products are another indication of the expansion of sustainable investing in the college savings plan market. Two years ago, about 20 plans included at least one investment option that prominently considered ESG factors, according to a report at the time by AKF Consulting.

The Fidelity Advisor 529 Sustainable Multi-Asset Portfolio, which launched July 27, is managed by Brett Sumsion, Andrew Dierdorf and Bruno Weinberg Crocco. That fund has net fees of 137 basis points. Information about the fund’s holdings was not yet available.

BlackRock fund buys organics-to-energy recycler

Vanguard Renewables says it has mitigated about 500,000 tons of emissions since 2014

A BlackRock institutional fund has acquired a US firm Vanguard Renewables, which specializes in transforming agricultural and food waste into energy, the companies recently announced.

Vanguard Renewables, which is not related to the similarly named asset manager, was previously owned by Vision Ridge Partners. The deal, disclosed July 20, will provide funds to help the organics recycler expand its operations, the firms stated.

BlackRock’s real assets team, which manages about $60bn, will work with Vanguard Renewables to “drive its next phase of growth, including its plans to commission more than 100 anaerobic digesters to produce renewable natural gas across the country by 2026,” according to the announcement.

The organics recycler was founded in 2014 and is based in Massachusetts.

“Renewable natural gas is an attractive and fast-growing market that provides decarbonization solutions for both the provider of the waste, as well as the natural gas consumer,” said Mark Florian, dead of diversified infrastructure, BlackRock Real Assets, in the announcement. “We look forward to partnering with Vanguard Renewables’ experienced management team to support the company’s strong growth momentum.”

As of April, Vanguard Renewables had mitigated at total about 500,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions and recycled more than 800,000 tons of organic waste, according to the firm. The company has two business lines – one for food waste and another for agricultural waste. It uses an anaerobic “codigestion” process to convert food and beverage byproducts, as well as dairy manure, into natural gas and low-carbon fertilizer. The agriculture division developed a process with Dominion Energy to convert manure into natural gas.

BMO acquires sustainability consultant

Radicle specializes in carbon credits and helping clients reduce emissions

BMO is purchasing a sustainability specialist firm, the Canadian bank announced this week.

Calgary-based Radicle Group, which BMO would acquire by the end of the year, focuses on carbon credit development, measuring emissions and environmental commodities, the companies noted in an announcement. Radicle founded itself in 2008 and has 130 employees.

The firm, which helps clients measure and reduce their emissions, has more than 4,000 customers globally, the companies stated. It claims to have helped cut 7m tons of carbon emissions among its clients and that it has traded more than $500m of environmental commodities.

Last year, Radicle disclosed that it received an investment from Canadian venture capital fund TELUS Ventures.

Following the acquisition, BMO Capital Markets’ global markets group will integrate Radicle’s team.

“The acquisition of Radicle supports BMO’s climate ambition to be our clients’ lead partner in the transition to a net-zero world, and the progress we’re making for a thriving economy, a sustainable future and an inclusive society,” BMO Capital Markets CEO Dan Barclay stated in the acquisition announcement. “Radicle’s leading expertise and innovative solutions make BMO a leader in carbon credit development capabilities and the environmental commodity market. These capabilities enhance our commitment to help our clients understand and manage the risks and opportunities of energy transition.”