Aberdeen Standard Investments, the global investment manager, has announced the launch of the UK Equity Impact – Employment Opportunities Fund, in collaboration with Big Issue Invest, the social investment arm of The Big Issue.
The fund will be managed by Lesley Duncan, investment director, Aberdeen Standard Investments.
The aim of the fund is to generate a financial return over the long term by investing in companies which promote and implement good employment opportunities and practices. Generally companies will have more than 50% of their employees in the UK. The fund manager will identify companies for their potential to grow and sustain strong long-term financial returns and then they will be assessed to determine if they are committed to delivering sustainable employment opportunities.
Lesley Duncan said: “The strategy of the UK Equity Impact – Employment Opportunities Fund is designed to meet the dual objectives of strong financial returns, while supporting good employment opportunities and practices. By investing in quoted UK companies the Fund seeks to harness equity-market returns while also helping to direct significant capital in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 8 – full and productive employment. A special job assessment framework underpins the investment process, guiding portfolio selection and helping the Fund meet its impact objectives, thereby helping to address inequalities in the UK.
“Good employment is fundamental to all aspects of personal and social wellbeing. The Fund offers investors a clearly defined means of investing in companies demonstrating best practice within human capital management, while seeking to deliver a competitive financial return over the longer term.”
The Fund will be actively managed, allowing analysts and the manager to engage with the companies, questioning their ability to deliver financial returns as well as ensuring that the identified employment impact remains a significant part of the strategy and aims.
The Good Economy Partnership, a social advisory and data analytics firm specialising in measuring social impacts, has been commissioned by Big Issue Invest to help develop the rigorous impact assessment framework that is being applied across the Fund’s investment universe.
While the focus of the Fund is on employment opportunities, the manager of the Fund will be mindful when investing in companies whose activities, products and services may not be deemed to be aligned to, or are incongruous with, the other United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.