Natixis Asset Management has unveiled Mirova; an investment division that it says will have a “global and unique approach to responsible investment”.
Philippe Zaouati, deputy CEO of Natixis, said the firm is “convinced that we need to think about asset management differently in order to better take into account the risks and opportunities of a changing world.”
Natixis adds that Mirova will bring together value creation and sustainable development, which it says is an “economic necessity”.
“The creation of the Mirova investment division is more than a simple affirmation of Natixis Asset Management’s 25 years of engagement in responsible investment”, said Pascal Voisin, Natixis CEO.
“It reflects our strong ambitions to strengthen our position as an innovative market player and become an international leader in this field.”
The Mirova team will comprise of 36 experts that Natixis says all share a common goal “to offer a new way of looking at investment”. The division will focus on four key areas: listed shares, infrastructure, impact investing and voting and engagement.
The establishment of Mirova is a big boost for the industry and comes after two high-profile socially responsible investment (SRI) team dissolutions threatened to knock back the sector’s progression.
Henderson Global Investors announced last December that it would be closing down its SRI arm, and in May, the team moved on to WHEB Asset Management. Meanwhile in February, Aviva Investors decided to scrap its SRI team in favour of a global responsible investment branch.
Speaking to Blue & Green Tomorrow last month about the situations at Henderson and Aviva, Penny Shepherd, chief executive of the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) said, “What we’re seeing at the moment is wider restructuring taking place within the investment management sector. And it isn’t surprising that there is some impact on sustainable and responsible investment from that.
“But in fact, if you look at both Henderson and Aviva, when the team that was formerly at Henderson moved over to WHEB, Henderson didn’t close its SRI funds; it just shifted to using external research. In essence, those funds are still available in the market; they’re just managed externally rather than internally.
“And then if you look at what happened within Aviva Investors; they moved away from managing equities in London to managing fixed-income, so the key feature of the Sustainable Futures Fund is that they were by-and-large equity funds, so they no longer fitted with the Aviva Investors strategy, so it wasn’t surprising that it made sense for them to find a new home.”