University of Toronto’s $7 Billion Fund Makes Bet on ESG Debt

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(Bloomberg) — The University of Toronto is wagering the booming environmental, social and governance credit sector will outperform traditional game plans.


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RP Investment Advisors LP raised C$213 million ($161 million) from University of Toronto Asset Management, the manager of the university’s pension, endowment and short-term working capital funds, at the beginning of this year. It will invest in the debt of companies that have committed to reducing their carbon footprint, according to David Matheson, RPIA’s head of portfolio management.

“The mandate requires that we are investing in companies that, on average, have lower emissions than the index, but the goal is to both encourage transparency and disclosure, as well as encourage companies to commit to reductions and to do so in a timely manner,” Matheson said in an interview.

RPIA, which now has C$5.7 billion under management, will focus on largely investment-grade names. Under its global credit strategy, it can invest in a broad range of sectors including financial, energy, industrial and infrastructure companies. It’s staying away from tobacco companies, as well as cluster munitions manufacturers.

a church with a clock on the side of a road: The University Of Toronto As Ontario Lays Out Plan to Restart Economy

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The University Of Toronto As Ontario Lays Out Plan to Restart Economy

The campus of University of Toronto, Canada’s largest university.

Photographer: Galit Rodan/Bloomberg

The firm is betting that using ESG as a tool in its asset allocation will lead to outperformance.

“The concept of actually embedding ESG analysis into your investments is about using the information in the marketplace to make better decisions,” Mike Quinn, chief investment officer at RPIA, said in the same interview.

“Certainly the firms that are leading on the ESG front are leading on many other factors, so by tilting your portfolio to have those factors more relevant, it can be an opportunity for outperformance.”

The strategy for the University of Toronto has returned 7.91%


Fletcher Fund launches to support students from underserved communities in pursuing higher education

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Fletcher Fund launches to support students from underserved communities in pursuing higher education

PR Newswire

ATLANTA, Oct. 7, 2020

Funders Christian Fletcher and Amber Fletcher seek to break cycle of inequality through education

ATLANTA, Oct. 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Fletcher Fund for Equality and Education announced today it will begin accepting applications in the coming months from exceptional students from underserved communities as they pursue opportunities in higher education. The fund will provide scholarships, mentorships, and other critical support to each selected student. The goal is to break down potential barriers preventing them from pursuing higher education at the top colleges and universities their achievements deserve.

The Fletcher Fund seeks to the break cycle of inequality experienced by the underserved through education.

The fund will initially focus on high schools in Mobile, Alabama, the hometown of founders Christian and Amber Fletcher, who both came from working class families, but achieved great success through higher education. Christian Fletcher and his wife Amber Fletcher are now the CEO and COO, respectively, of LifeBrite Laboratories and LifeBrite Hospital Group. Both were motivated to give back to their communities at a time when the injustices of inequality are pronounced and prominent.

“As inequalities that have hampered the U.S. for most of our history come to the forefront of public attention with undeniable clarity,” says Christian Fletcher, “we want to catalyze a generational cycle of education, wealth, and leadership that uplifts communities of mutual support.”

The couple wanted to go beyond giving scholarships, because their personal experience proves tuition alone wouldn’t be enough to set students up for success. Amber Fletcher, who attended University of Alabama at Birmingham, remembers facing many additional costs upon acceptance.

“Students in these circumstances need more than tuition,” she says. “Without


Cambridge university’s endowment fund targets net zero emissions by 2038

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By Matthew Green

LONDON (Reuters) – The University of Cambridge pledged on Thursday to reduce the climate-warming emissions from its investments to net zero within 18 years, a first among academic institutions under pressure from students to do more to combat climate change.

The 800-year-old British university said it would rebalance its 3.5 billion pound ($4.5 billion) endowment fund to ensure that it stopped contributing to global warming by 2038 – ahead of many other climate-concerned investors, who have tended to set a 2050 deadline.

“Cambridge is one of the world’s leading scientific universities and our plans are to align our investment portfolio with the science,” Tilly Franklin, the university’s chief investment officer, told Reuters television.

Cambridge said it would divest any remaining holdings in fossil fuel companies by 2030 to support its goal, part of a broader Cambridge Zero initiative to harness the university’s scientific and convening power for climate action.

Students in Europe and North America have campaigned for years to force universities to divest from fossil fuels. In February, Extinction Rebellion climate protesters dug up the lawn of Cambridge’s Trinity College as part of a week-long series of demonstrations in the town.

Dumping fossil stocks has proven contentious for many pension schemes who favour engaging with heavily-polluting companies. More than 1,000 institutions have nevertheless pledged to divest, according to pressure group Divest/Invest.

By going beyond narrow divestment strategies to target net zero emissions by 2038, Cambridge both joins a vanguard of investors seeking to drive an economy-wide shift to a low-carbon future, and raises the bar in terms of timing.

With the embrace of net zero targets still in its infancy, analysts say fund managers may face hurdles in gaining access to the kind of data and investment options they need to be certain they are delivering