Investing in Equal Opportunities, the Storebrand Way

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    Stockholm (NordSIP) – Storebrand’s family of solutions-oriented thematic funds just got bigger. On 11 February, the asset manager launched a new Article 9 fund, Storebrand Equal Opportunities. Like the previous two Solutions funds, the newcomer will seek investment opportunities guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Unlike its predecessors, however, it will focus on the social aspects of sustainability rather than the environmental ones.

    “Historically, when talking about sustainable investing or ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) investing, the ‘E’ in ESG has gotten a lot of attention. Over the past couple of years, we have seen an increased interest in the ‘S’, but there is still a lack of funding for the social needs defined in the SDGs,” comments Ellen Andersen (pictured), the new fund’s portfolio manager. “But now, alongside the existing opportunities, we see rising awareness about the funding gap and policy frameworks falling into place. So, we believe the timing is ideal for a fund focused on this aspect of social needs,” she adds.

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    Andersen has long been paying attention to the social aspects of sustainability. Last year, welcoming the proposal to extend the EU Taxonomy, the manager wrote that she views the social taxonomy extension as an essential part of reaching the full potential of the SDGs. “We also believe that a social taxonomy could contribute to the green transition, as we need socially inclusive measures to be able to provide clean energy access for all by 2030. If the social taxonomy is enacted, we will continue our work to meet the criteria set in order to reach the aim of the taxonomy,” she commented in 2021.

    In her new role as a portfolio manager for Storebrand Equal Opportunities, Andersen has a chance to put her beliefs into practice. The fund aims to help fulfil a core principle underlying the SDGs: creating equal access to opportunities for the world’s entire population. Initially, the fund will focus on companies making essential digital, financial, and health-related services available to more people worldwide. It will target companies across sectors such as women’s health, digital health, microfinance, and internet access, among others.

    According to the launch press release, Storebrand sees significant opportunities in areas such as women’s health. One example would be emerging tech companies attempting to close the research gap regarding women’s health, aided by digitalization and personalized healthcare. Hologic, a global company that develops and manufactures women’s health products, is one of the portfolio holdings representing this particular sub-theme.

    “There are still billions of people who do not have access to essential services that most of us depend on,” says the new fund’s portfolio manager. “We believe the companies that help solve problems like these – some of the most important problems faced by people around the world – will perform well in the future,” concludes Andersen.

    Image courtesy of Storebrand
    Julia Axelsson, CAIA
    Julia Axelsson, CAIA
    Julia has accumulated experience in asset management for more than 20 years in Stockholm and Beijing, in portfolio management, asset allocation, fund selection and risk management. In December 2020, she completed a program in Sustainability Studies at the University of Linköping. Julia speaks Mandarin, Bulgarian, Hindi, Russian, Swedish, Urdu and English. She holds a Master in Indology from Sofia University and has completed studies in Economics at both Stockholm University and Stockholm School of Economics.
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