Sustainable investing pioneer Liontrust is launching a new ESG investment trust – could it outperform its ethically-minded funds?

AJ Gonzalez | July 10, 2021


  • Liontrust launched its Sustainable Future funds 20 years ago 
  • That range has grown to be its biggest by assets under management 
  • It is launching its first trust with an IPO this week 

With plenty of fund managers now having ESG offerings, it can be difficult to work out which is the real deal and where best to put your money.

ESG – or environmental, social and governance – has become a buzzword in the investment world in recent years, with plenty of question marks over just how ‘green-friendly’ some companies are and accusations of greenwashing.

However, fund manager Liontrust has built up a reputation as a leader in this growing ESG category, having launched its Sustainable Future funds in 2001 – long before ESG became the latest investment buzzphrase

In fact, recent trading updates have shown its Sustainable Investment fund range has grown to be its biggest by assets under management last year.

Liontrust’s new ESG investment trust will be one of very few environment-focused trusts listed in London

Now the sustainable investment team will launch Liontrust ESG Trust with an initial public offering due this week.

It will go up against rival Baillie Gifford’s recently revamped Keystone Positive Change, which was formerly run by Invesco as a trust with a totally different investment philosophy.

Keystone was at one point run by Neil Woodford protege Mark Barnett, as an equity income-focussed trust, he then passed the reins on to Mark Goldstone. But after a period of lacklustre performance, the trust’s board sought out a totally new direction – and in a sign of the times, opted for Baillie Gifford’s Positive Change fund team.

They seek to invest in companies that make a positive impact on society and the Keystone top ten includes vaccine-pioneer Moderna, electric car maker Tesla, and chipmaker supplier ASML.

Initially, this boosted returns but Keystone Positive Change, which is run by Kate Fox and Lee Qian, has slipped back recently due to growth stocks suffering, with the trust’s share price down 8.8 per cent in the past six months.

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