Aberdeen Standard Investments has published its first annual impact report for the UK Equity Impact Employment Opportunities Fund. Launched in February 2018, the Fund positions itself as an innovative and compelling solution for those investors who wish to invest in UK equities in pursuit of both societal and financial benefits.
In collaboration with Big Issue Invest (BII), the social investment arm of the Big Issue Group, the impact objective of the Fund is to support ‘decent job’ creation in the UK. Investment in skills and attracting talent has become a basis for competitiveness, productivity and growth – indeed, 80% of the Fund’s companies pay above the national average wage for their sectors.
Lesley Duncan, Deputy Head of UK Equities and co-manager of the UK Equity Impact Employment Opportunities Fund said: “The creation of decent employment opportunities and productive jobs can help alleviate poverty and benefit society as a whole. We are delighted to report that the Fund holds twice the reference benchmark’s* level of exposure to companies that create employment opportunities in areas with high employment deprivation. This outcome underlines our commitment to furthering the Fund’s financial and impact investment objectives.”
Rebecca Maclean, co-manager of the Fund added: “Job creation is one pillar we consider when assessing companies for inclusion in the Fund. We are pleased to report that 70% of the Fund’s companies exhibited positive job creation over the last year, with a median growth rate of 5.1% versus 3.1% growth for companies in FTSE 350.”
Nigel Kershaw, Chair, The Big Issue Group, said: “The Big Issue provides the means and opportunity for homeless and vulnerably housed people to earn a living through working. The Fund extends this core belief by creating job opportunities and ensuring good employment practices, both of which are vital poverty prevention tools. It also enables BII to expand its work by directly investing in more social enterprises that seek to dismantle poverty. We feel a huge sense of pride in what this partnership has already achieved – and there’s more to come”
The collaboration with Aberdeen Standard Investments has helped Big Issue Invest advance its mission to dismantle poverty and create opportunity for people and communities across the UK. The UK Equity Impact Employment Opportunities Fund was designed specifically to achieve these goals.