NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK) has launched the BlackRock Impact U.S. Equity Fund (‘the Fund’), a mutual fund for investors that aims to invest in measurable social and environmental outcomes while seeking to generate competitive financial returns. The Fund will trade under the ticker BIRAX.
The Fund arrives at a time when sustainable and impact investing strategies are attracting a significant amount of interest as well as assets from investors. According to the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA), sustainable investment assets have expanded 61% between 2012 and 2014. Within this, impact investing is the fastest growing segment, and the U.S. is the fastest growing area for impact investing, with 33% compound annual growth rate between 2012 and 2014. GSIA defines impact investing as targeted investments aimed at solving social or environmental problems.
“Demographic shifts, stakeholder advocacy, and government regulation are combining to create unprecedented demand for sustainable and impact investment solutions,” said Deborah Winshel, Managing Director and Global Head of Impact Investing at BlackRock. “Impact investing enables investors to do more with their money than simply achieving a financial return. Through transparent measurement and outcome reporting, impact investing allows investors to better understand how their money is being put to work.”
The Fund aims to deliver a portfolio of equity securities of companies targeting competitive market returns and aggregate societal impact outcomes, as determined by BlackRock, relative to its benchmark. The Fund is run by BlackRock’s Scientific Active Equity (SAE) team, which has more than 30 years of experience leveraging systematic and quantitative techniques to build differentiated equity portfolios. For the Fund, SAE employs its research process to score more than 8,000 companies daily across three societal impact outcome areas: health, the environment, and corporate citizenship. In addition, the fund screens out certain companies or industries, including alcohol, tobacco, and weapons manufacturers.
“This new investment strategy will help move impact investing from a niche to a core allocation,” said Jeff Shen, Managing Director and Co-head of BlackRock’s SAE Investment Group. “We have designed a portfolio that combines innovative investing capabilities with a transparent and tangible set of social and environmental impact outcomes.”
In February 2015, BlackRock appointed Deborah Winshel to help unify its approach to impact investing through the launch of BlackRock Impact, the Firm’s global platform catering to investors with social or environmental objectives. The development of the Fund further highlights BlackRock’s commitment within this space. BlackRock currently manages more than $200 billion of assets across impact investing, environmental, social and governance (ESG) portfolios, and impact investments. For more information about BlackRock Impact, please visit blackrockimpact.com.
In addition to the BlackRock Impact U.S. Equity Fund, BlackRock recently launched other impact funds in Europe and Japan.
Research from GSIA highlights the significant role institutional investors play in the sustainable investment space, currently accounting for 86.9% of global sustainable assets under management. However, increasingly women and millennial investors are placing greater emphasis on sustainability and social impact within their investment decision making as they take control of greater assets. According to US Trust, 67% of millennials state that their investment decisions express their social, political or environmental values. In addition, Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing shows that 76% of female investors believe environmental or social factors are important considerations in making investment decisions.
BlackRock is a global leader in investment management, risk management and advisory services for institutional and retail clients. At June 30, 2015, BlackRock’s AUM was $4.721 trillion. BlackRock helps clients around the world meet their goals and overcome challenges with a range of products that include separate accounts, mutual funds, iShares® (exchange-traded funds), and other pooled investment vehicles. BlackRock also offers risk management, advisory and enterprise investment system services to a broad base of institutional investors through BlackRock Solutions®. As of June 30, 2015, the firm had approximately 12,400 employees in more than 30 countries and a major presence in key global markets, including North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East and Africa. For additional information, please visit the Company’s website at www.blackrock.com | Twitter: @blackrock_news | Blog: www.blackrockblog.com | LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/blackrock
Prepared by BlackRock Investments, LLC, member FINRA. ©2015 BlackRock, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BLACKROCK is a registered trademark of BlackRock, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and elsewhere. All other trademarks are those of their respective owners.
Carefully consider the Funds' investment objectives, risk factors, and charges and expenses before investing. This and other information can be found in the Funds' prospectuses or, if available, the summary prospectuses which may be obtained by visiting www.iShares.com or www.blackrock.com. Read the prospectus carefully before investing.