Neuberger Berman launches Global & European Sustainability Equity UCITS fund

Neuberger Berman, a private, independent, employee-owned investment manager, is launching two sustainable equity UCITS funds managed by the top-performing portfolio managers hired in November 2020.  

The Neuberger Berman Global Sustainable Equity and European Sustainable Equity funds will implement a proven investment philosophy and process honed over 16 years. The management team of Hendrik-Jan Boer, Alex Zuiderwijk and Jeroen Brand, were early adopters of ESG investing and previously managed over $10 billion in global and European equity strategies. Following the implementation of the French and European ESG regulations, both will be classified under the French ‘significant engaging methodology’ and EU Article 9, as at 10 March 2021.   

The high conviction funds, which will typically hold 30-60 stocks, will seek to invest in quality companies where sustainability reinforces returns. The team adopts a rigorous, forward-looking assessment of material ESG factors and deep bottom-up research focused on value chain economics. As truly active owners, the team will seek an ‘active share’ greater than 75 per cent and focus its engagement with management based on strategy, competitive environment, outlook, innovation, remuneration, governance, and sustainability.  

The portfolio managers will be supported by a four-strong team of career analysts focused on bottom-up assessment with a value chain lens, across fintech & financial inclusion, energy transition, digital enterprise, conscious consumer, and access to healthcare.  

The fund’s team will also work closely with the firm’s ESG investing team and benefit from the depth of expertise across Neuberger Berman’s $101 billion equities platform. The firm’s centralised global equity research department comprises 48 dedicated research professionals, with 41 senior research analysts averaging 19 years of experience.  

Hendrik-Jan Boer, lead portfolio manager, says: “Rapid societal and technological change is driving corporate evolution and creating value chain disruption. We are seeing increasing growth in what we call ‘conscious consumers’, who are holding corporations and governments to account through consumption behaviour, elections and activism. This coupled with active regulators implementing new directives across borders to address ESG issues is driving a new wave of high-quality opportunities for sustainable investors.” 

Dik van Lomwel, head of EMEA and Latin America, adds: “The strong demand for sustainable investment solutions is well documented and the team’s high active share approach is attractive to investors who are looking to allocate to high conviction strategies. The new funds complement our growing ESG offering across asset classes which includes emerging market debt, global high yield securities and Japanese equities.  

“More than 80 per cent of our total assets under management are now ESG integrated, up from 60 per cent in 2019. In October 2020, we were awarded top scores (straight A+) in the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) assessment report for the second consecutive year, and were named a 2020 PRI Leader, a designation awarded to fewer than 1 per cent of investment managers.”