Aberdeen Standard Investments has launched a UK employment opportunities fund with Big Issue Invest, the social investment arm of The Big Issue.
The UK Equity Impact – Employment Opportunities fund will be actively managed by investment director Lesley Duncan, who manages the firm’s range of ethical funds.
It said the aim of the Oeic fund is to generate a financial return over the long term by investing in companies which ‘promote and implement good employment opportunities and practices’. Investable companies will generally have more than 50% of their employees in the UK.
Aberdeen Standard said Duncan will identify companies for their potential to grow and sustain ‘strong long-term financial returns’ and then they will be assessed to determine if they are ‘committed to delivering sustainable employment opportunities.’
Nigel Kershaw OBE, chair of the Big Issue Group, said a percentage of the fund’s management fee will go the Big Issue Group, to help finance ‘social enterprises and charities offering business solutions to social problems, across sectors including employment and training, health and well-being and financial and social inclusion.’
Citywire A-rated Duncan said: ‘Good employment is fundamental to all aspects of personal and social wellbeing.
‘The fund offers investors a clearly defined means of investing in companies demonstrating best practice within human capital management, while seeking to deliver a competitive financial return over the longer term.’
Kershaw said: ‘The collaboration with Aberdeen Standard Investments will help Big Issue Invest advance its mission to dismantle poverty and create opportunity for people and communities across the UK.’
Big Issue Invest has commissioned data analytics from social advisory firm the Good Economy Partnership to help develop the impact assessment framework.
Aberdeen Standard said that while the focus of the fund is on employment opportunities, Duncan will be ‘mindful when investing in companies whose activities, products and services may not be deemed to be aligned to, or are incongruous with, the other United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.’