SG’s Gordian Capital, GoImpact to launch Asia-focused ESG fund

Written by: Deal Street Asia
16 Jan 2020

Singapore-based fund management platform Gordian Capital is launching an environmental, social and governance (ESG) fund with GoImpact, an ecosystem dedicated to sustainable investments.

Gordian Capital manages $3.3 billion in private equity, venture capital, real estate, private credit and hedge funds across 60 funds since 2005.

According to a statement, the fund aims to launch in Q1 2020. Most of its investors are Asian family offices, and they aim to accumulate about $100 million of assets under management. The fund is understood to be targeting net positive ESG corporates that deliver good returns based on a “tested and proven ESG framework”.

The fund added that it also looks to the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) for its ESG standards – grouping its 17 sustainable development goals into five areas of focus: climate, education, health, inclusion and biodiversity. The fund is led by Helene Li, Clarence T’ao and Andy Ann, former entrepreneurs, bankers from the Asia Pacific.

Clarence T’ao, partner of GoImpact said: “GoImpact is excited to bring to the Asian market an ESG Fund which combines the best of European Nordic expertise and deep roots in Asian market knowledge. Together with the liquidity of the Fund, this will appeal to the investment appetite of family offices.”

The fund added that this will be a Singapore-domiciled entity under the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) VCC pilot programme.

The VCC framework is a newly unveiled structure aimed at drawing fund managers to domicile their funds in the Asian city-state over jurisdictions like the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, and the Netherlands. The VCC structure launches on January 15, 2020. “The VCC is a well-designed, user-friendly, tax-efficient fund structure that will provide asset managers based in Singapore an option to launch and operate a Singapore-domiciled vehicle. Both the asset management industry and investors look forward to enjoying the benefits of the newly established VCC regime for funds utilizing both public and private strategies,” said Gordian Capital founder and CEO Mark Voumard.

VCCs are required to file their financial statements with ACRA, the regulator in Singapore. However, the details are not required to be publicly available, which would allow investors privacy.

ESG investments crossed the $30-trillion mark in 2018 and are set to keep rising, according to the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance.

In recent years, consumers have been shifting towards more environmentally conscious buying. Investors have also been demanding more transparent reporting in their portfolios. However, with the exception of UNDP’s principles, definitions around ESG investing remain highly ambiguous.