More than a ‘feel good’ portfolio

Andy Gracey Australian Ethical Fund Manager of the Year fmoty2021 Ausbil

27 May 2021
| By Chris Dastoor |
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The Australian Ethical Australia Shares fund is more than just a “feel good” portfolio and it has taken out the 2021 Money Management Fund Manager of the Year Responsible Investments award.

Andy Gracey, Australian Ethical portfolio manager, said the fund’s inflows had ramped up because of the bushfires in late 2019/early 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic being another boost.

“If you’re in front of the curve in terms of environmental, social and governance (ESG), you can financially benefit… it’s not just a feel good portfolio,” Gracey said.

Gracey said the firm was one of the most aggressive ESG screeners.

“In 2020, the stars aligned as our ethical universes were the outperforming sectors and we had some great stock selection,” Gracey said.

“We’re fundamental small cap investors, our universe is quite growthy, but we put on our fundamental valuation hat – we describe ourselves as GARP: growth at a reasonable price.”

The judges said the Australian Ethical Australian Shares fund delivered a thoughtfully considered and deeply researched true-to-label ethical approach to investing.

“Supported by a detailed ethical charter the fund employs a benchmark-unaware approach to actively seek out companies that are contributing positively to society and the environment, and avoiding those involved in harmful activities,” Lonsec said.

“The fund provides one of the most comprehensive ethical screening approaches in the market.”

The Ausbil Active Sustainable Equity fund was highly commended and the judges said the fund integrated ESG into the investment process to identify potential earnings risk and help make better informed investment decisions.

“The fund exemplifies an ‘active ownership’ approach to stewardship,” they said.

“A key strength is the manager’s proprietary ranking tool which takes into consideration both financial analyst conviction scores and ESG sustainability scores into a single measure allowing an integrated ranking of stocks.”

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