abrdn has launched the first in a series of sustainable exchange traded funds. The abrdn Sustainable Asian Opportunities Active ETF (ASAO) invests in Asian opportunities ex Japan. The fund is actively managed and aims to outperform the MSCI All Countries Asia Accumulation Index (ex Japan) by investing in a relatively concentrated portfolio of approximately 35 to 70 Asian companies.
abrdn managing director, Australia, Brett Jollie, said the Asian opportunities fund was the first cab off the rank as it reflected the asset manager's multi-decade experience in managing Asian Pacific equities.
"We have been long time leaders in Asian and emerging markets investing and this heritage and level of commitment allows us to see opportunities where others can't," he said.
"Our research teams have identified several structural themes which we believe will support growth in Asian markets in years to come and the new Active ETF will give access to these. In the meantime, Asia offers attractive valuations with companies trading well below their five-year averages, with the risks of higher inflation and slower growth already priced in.
The fund excludes at least the bottom 10 per cent of companies with the lowest ESG House Score in the benchmark. This measure, which is primarily a quantitative assessment, is designed to identify and exclude those companies exposed to the highest ESG risks.
"Asia represents the most economically dynamic collection of markets anywhere in the world and is well positioned to benefit from the huge investment needed to decarbonise the world, with substantial opportunities in renewables and energy storage production capacity," Jollie said.
The fund manager will also engage with external company management to evaluate ownership structures, and governance and management quality of their companies.