Stockholm (NordSIP) – Christian Super, an Australian pension fund, takes a significant minority equity shareholding in responsAbility, one of the world’s leading asset managers with a focus on SDG-aligned investments in emerging economies.
“Christian Super and responsAbility have both been pioneers in the impact investing space for over a decade,” commented Ross Piper, CEO of Christian Super. “We share a strong values alignment and a focus on the SDGs as a framework for investing capital for financial return and meaningful impact. Our investment in responsAbility follows on from our establishment of Brightlight Impact Advisory in 2016, and signals our continued commitment to the growth of the impact investment market and to designing and delivering high-quality investment solutions to meet investors’ financial, social and environmental goals.”
Reports suggest that the Australian pension fund now has a 5% stake in the Swiss asset manager. Prior to this announcement, NordSIP also reported on a US$ 20 million investment from Starbucks in responsAbility. On that occasion, “We are excited to have the Starbucks Global Farmer Fund as a significant investor,” commented Anand Chandani, Global Head of Agriculture Debt Financing at responsAbility on that occasion. “We see synergies with Starbucks in building the sustainable coffee value chain, supporting smallholder farmer engagement and in fostering market linkages.”
The share capital of responsAbility Investments AG has been predominantly held by a broad range of prominent Swiss financial institutions, including Baumann & Cie, Raiffeisen Switzerland, Swiss Re Foundation and Vontobel Beteiligungen AG as well as by private investors. The remaining shares are held by responsAbility’s management and staff.
Total revenues of responsAbility portfolio companies are over US$ 18 billion. responsAbility has expanded its investor base for its range of 15 funds over the years from Switzerland to various international markets, particularly the Nordics, the Netherlands and Germany. According to reports in Swiss financial media, the sustainable investor has been struggling since the departure of Klaus Tischhauser as CEO at the end of 2015 and his replacement by Rochus Mommartz. Reportedly, the problem stems from the growth of responsAbility overseen by Mr Tischhauser Growing from US$ 1 billion to US$ 3 billion and from 80 to over 240 employees with ten offices worldwide resulted in increased costs that have led to expensive fees. This expansion reportedly coincided with losses in its flagship fund and with layoffs and resignations which led Baumann & Cie’s Matthias Preiswerk to unsuccessfully attempt to sell its stake.
“We are delighted to welcome Christian Super as one of responsAbility’s shareholders, further broadening and internationalizing the company’s shareholder base,” commented Reto Schnarwiler, Chairman of the Board of responsAbility. “This is an important mark of recognition for responsAbility, as we have attracted the interest of a committed impact investor far beyond our original home market. We look forward to working with Christian Super to further expand the scope and impact of our investments in emerging economies.”
Operating since 1984, Christian Super is an Australian superannuation fund with 27,000 members and more than $1.5 billion in funds under management investing its members’ retirement funds ethically in line with Christian values.
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