Neuberger Berman adds to ESG offering with sustainable equity funds

AJ Gonzalez | March 9, 2021

Investment Week, Ellie Duncan, 09 March 2021

Neuberger Berman has launched two sustainable equity UCITS funds which will be managed by the team of three portfolio managers it hired from NN Investment Partners in November last year.

Alex Zuiderwijk, Hendrik-Jan Boer and Jeroen Brand will manage the Neuberger Berman Global Sustainable Equity and European Sustainable Equity funds, supported by a team of four analysts and working closely with the firm’s ESG investing team.

Neuberger Berman said that the new funds will each hold between 30 to 60 stocks and will invest in quality companies “where sustainability reinforces returns”.

The team intends to seek an active share greater than 75%, with the managers focusing their engagement with management based on strategy, competitive environment, outlook, innovation, remuneration, governance and sustainability.

Lead portfolio manager Boer said: “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.”

Neuberger Berman said that the team of analysts on the funds will be focused on bottom-up assessment with a “value chain lens”, across fintech and financial inclusion, energy transition, digital enterprise, conscious consumer and access to healthcare.

Boer, Zuiderwijk and Brand previously managed more than $10bn in global and European equity strategies.

Dik van Lomwel, head of EMEA and Latin America at Neuberger Berman, added that the management team’s high active share approach would be “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.”

Van Lomwel said that more than 80% of the firm’s total assets under management are now ESG integrated, up from 60% in 2019.

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