French asset management has come out on top of MainStreet Partners' 2021 ESG Champions, with both the best asset manager and best boutique awards going to French houses.
BNP Paribas Asset Management has been named best asset manager in the inaugural ESG Champions awards from London-based ESG advisory and portfolio analytics firms MainStreet Partners, which gave the best boutique award to Sycomore Asset Management.
BNP Paribas AM was also awarded the best social thematic fund prize for its Smart Food fund, making it the only fund house to earn two ESG Champions titles.
[Our] holistic methodology was created to help investors identify real sustainable investments across asset classes and to avoid greenwashing."
European firms dominated the awards, with NN Investment Partners, Pictet and Mirova claiming prizes, among other continental houses.
The winners were selected from 350 funds across more than 60 asset managers rated by MainStreet Partners, and all scored at least 4.0 out of 5.0 on the ESG Rating provided by the analytics firm, with two funds - Federated Hermes Impact Opportunities Equity and NN Green Bond - achieving the highest possible score.
Neill Blanks, research director at MainStreet Partners, said: "[Our] holistic methodology was created to help investors identify real sustainable investments across asset classes and to avoid greenwashing.
"Given the development and increasing depth of ESG fund offerings we have named nine broad categories across equities, fixed income, multi-asset and thematic investing together with the best overall asset manager as well as the best boutique.
"The new EU regulation requires the identification and disclosure of sustainability risks which, in our opinion, are beyond the simple average rating of portfolio holdings because they involve the asset manager's approach to sustainability, its commitment, its disclosures, how sustainability principles are incorporated in the investment process and how those may affect financial results.
"These aspects are crucially influenced by the actions, policies and procedures that the asset managers have to put in place to make informed decisions and construct portfolios. Furthermore, when looking at the portfolio, controversies also need to be taken into consideration since company ratings often do not incorporate them in a timely manner."
MainStreet Partners' winners in full:
Best Global Equity Fund
Candriam Sustainable Equity World
Best European Equity Fund
Echiquier Major SRI Growth Europe
Best Global Fixed Income Fund
RobecoSAM Global SDG Credits
Best European Fixed Income Fund
DNCA Invest Beyond European Bond Opportunities
Best Green Bond Fund
NN Green Bond
Best Multi-Asset Fund
Mirova Europe Sustainable Economy
Best Multi-Thematic Fund
Federated Hermes Impact Opportunities Equity
Best Environmental Thematic Fund
Pictet Clean Energy
Best Social Thematic Fund
BNP Smart Food
Best Asset Manager
BNP Paribas AM
(First published by our sister title Investment Week)