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SSgA launches First Low Carbon ETF


State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) is SPDR MSCI ACWI Low Carbon Target ETF (symbol:LOWC) began trading on the NYSE Arca on 26 November, 2014. 

Developed in conjunction with the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF), LOWC is a new vehicle that seeks to provide access to the potentially long-term growth opportunities of companies that are carbon efficient while reducing exposure to assets vulnerable to the transition to a low carbon economy.

“In combining the advantages of low carbon investment exposure with the benefits of the ETF structure, LOWC offers a powerful value proposition for investors seeking to reduce their carbon risk exposure while maintaining the benefits of broad global diversification,” says Christopher McKnett, head of ESG Investments at State Street Global Advisors.

“The launch of LOWC is an exciting advance that improves access to the benefits of low carbon investing for all investors,” says James Ross, executive vice president and global head of SPDR Exchange Traded Funds. “We are proud to support the Secretary General and the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund in expanding the reach of low carbon initiatives.”

The SPDR MSCI ACWI Low Carbon Target ETF seeks to provide investment results that correspond generally to the total return performance of the MSCI ACWI Low Carbon Target Index, which is designed to address two dimensions of carbon exposure – carbon emissions and fossil fuel reserves expressed as potential emissions. The Index, which is a subset of the MSCI ACWI Index, overweights companies with low carbon emissions relative to sales and those with low fossil fuel reserves relative to market capitalisation and seeks to achieve a target level of tracking relative to its parent index (the MSCI ACWI Index) while minimising the carbon exposure. The SPDR MSCI ACWI Low Carbon Target ETF’s gross expense ratio is 0.30 per cent. SSgA has contractually agreed to waive its advisory fee and reimburse certain expenses until 31 January, 2017, making the net expense ratio 0.20 per cent.

“We support the UNJSPF’s low carbon initiatives and are pleased that SSGA has selected the MSCI ACWI Low Carbon Target Index as a benchmark for their Low Carbon ETF,” says Remy Briand, Managing Director and Head of Equity Research at MSCI. “The MSCI ACWI Low Carbon Target Index combines MSCI’s quality index construction with our in-house environmental, social and governance (ESG) team’s unique data on carbon emissions and reserves.”

“At the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit on 23 September, world leaders in government, business, finance and civil society were called upon to initiate transformative action to reduce emissions and build resilience to the adverse impacts of climate change. The United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund welcomes the creation of a new lower carbon index and related ETFs as a responsible approach to environmentally sustainable investing and a positive response to the Secretary-General’s call for action,” said Carol Boykin, CFA, Representative of the Secretary-General for the investment of the assets of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund.

ESG investment strategies are one of the fastest growing segments of the asset management industry amid strong demand from institutional investors. According to a recent report from US SIF – the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, total US-domiciled assets under management in sustainable, responsible and impact investment strategies has grown 76 per cent from USD3.74 trillion in 2012 to USD6.57 trillion at the start of 2014, with environmental factors incorporated in nearly $3 trillion of assets under management.

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