Courtiers has launched a new fund. The Courtiers Ethical Value Equity Fund (EVE) extends the choices available to investors by offering them the opportunity to invest in stocks that pass a rigorous ethical screening process, while remaining true to Courtiers’ value-investing ethos. The screening process means that companies associated with fossil fuels, or with animal testing, for example, are automatically excluded from the fund.
The EVE Fund aims to achieve capital growth and income from a portfolio of global company shares over a period of between five and ten years.
Commenting on the new fund, Gary Reynolds, Courtiers CIO and fund co-manager, said; “We believe the Courtiers Ethical Value Equity Fund is a great addition to our existing suite of investment funds and will appeal to investors who wish to invest in an ethical way, but at the same time wish to align themselves with Courtiers’ tried and tested value ethos and style that has served our investors so well for many years.”
Graeme Clark, Courtiers Head of Private Clients, added; “The launch of the Courtiers Ethical Value Equity Fund offers our clients and investors even more choice, providing reassurance that they can align both their investment goals and ethical preferences over the longer-term.
“We are looking forward to the opportunities that this brings to our clients and their families.”
As with all Courtiers Funds, the EVE Fund evaluates companies for a value-tilt, but it also assesses whether or not those companies align with specific exclusions, as set out in the screening criteria. The rigorous screening process allows investors to express their beliefs and preferences via their investments.
Companies excluded from the fund include those associated with areas such as animal testing, adult entertainment, palm oil and fossil fuels. A range of other criteria are also reviewed such as detrimental impact to the environment and/or society, or where governance is poor (such as a bad safety record).
The Ethical Value Equity Fund balances its commitment to ethical principles without needing to be overly restrictive in its holdings by differentiating between significant involvement in excluded areas and activities and more peripheral involvement. It achieves this by excluding only those companies who derive more than 10% of their revenue from harmful products and activities, such as alcohol, gambling and tobacco. This means it’s unlikely that supermarkets, for example, would be excluded because they sell tobacco products.
The exclusion screening process is completed in conjunction with an independent third-party provider of data, with any company that fails to pass the screening not permitted as an investment within the fund.
Deputy Fund Manager, Jacob Reynolds, CFA, said; “The stocks we are investing in will not only pass the exclusion screening, but they must also align with universally supported global norms and conventions such as the UN Global Compact principles. This ensures they meet fundamental responsibilities in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.”
After the initial screening process, stocks are selected by the Investment Team using the same methodology as used for Courtiers’ other funds. Further ESG (Ethical, Social & Governance) factors are considered by the Courtiers analysts, including a comprehensive assessment of a company’s management practices as well as material ESG risks. Any company held within the fund that fails to meet the criteria will be sold at the earliest opportunity.
The new fund was launched following a review of external ethical funds available in the market. Katie Crook, Product Specialist at Courtiers, said; “While there are many funds on the market that do align with the exclusionary criteria we would require, these tend to have a growth-tilt in their equity allocation. When we looked to source a fund that aligned with our value-investing ethos, the exclusions applied didn’t fully align with our stringent screening requirements. By bringing this new fund to market we can ensure we are able to adhere to strict screening criteria while also allowing all of our clients to benefit from our value investing ethos.”
Investors in the new fund will be able to see a full breakdown of the holdings via their Courtiers online account, including details of individual companies and how much of the overall fund they constitute.
The Ethical Value Equity Fund will typically hold between 30 and 50 stocks and will operate on an equal-weighted basis. The fund does not have a specific benchmark, but for performance comparison purposes, the IA (Investment Association) has approved the EVE Fund to be included in the IA Global sector. We would encourage anyone who has any questions about the new fund or would like any further information to contact their Adviser, or contact Courtiers online.