By Simon Jessop
LONDON (Reuters) - British asset manager M&G had agreed to buy majority stakes in impact investor responsibility Investments AG and green builder Greencore Construction, it said on Thursday, part of a drive to boost its sustainability credentials.
Money managers globally are looking to increase investments in companies focused on environmental and social problems, as issues such as climate change and social inequality become a greater focus for clients.
The move into Switzerland-based responsAbility Investments comes as M&G looks to position itself as a leader in impact investing, which focuses on achieving environmental and social gains as well as solid financial returns.
M&G has agreed to buy an initial 90% stake in the firm for an undisclosed sum, and expects to acquire the rest over time. ResponsAbility has $3.7 billion in assets and has invested more than $11 billion in emerging markets since 2003, M&G said.
“There is strong and growing demand for impact and sustainable investment products from our clients," said M&G Chief Investment Officer Jack Daniels.
"The combination of responsAbility's specialist capabilities in this area and our scale, investment breadth and global distribution reach represents a very powerful proposition.”
Peer Allianz Global Investors said on Wednesday it had created a private markets impact investment unit to tap growing demand from clients.
In a separate statement on Thursday, M&G said it had acquired a majority stake in sustainable housebuilder Greencore Construction on behalf of policyholders in its 143 billion pound ($191.7 billion) Prudential With Profits Fund.
M&G said Greencore had developed a construction method using natural materials that allowed homes to be more energy efficient and lock-in more carbon emissions - a key focus as the UK government looks to meet its climate objectives.
It did not give financial details of the deal. M&G said it planned to invest up to 500 million pounds in climate-positive homes in Britain over the next three to five years.
($1 = 0.7459 pounds)
(Reporting by Simon Jessop; Editing by Jan Harvey)