Bond Manager of the Year and Social Fund of the Year, Europe: Amundi
Amundi Asset Management won the Bond Manager of the Year and Social Fund of the Year awards in Europe after its long history as a sustainable bond innovator was bolstered by the launch of the first fund dedicated to social bonds.
In November 2020, Amundi launched its groundbreaking social bond fund amid rapid growth in social bond issuance following the Covid-19 pandemic.
The fund – which was the first to be heavily allocated to labeled social bonds – now has 340 million euros ($356 million) in assets under management. Amundi said the fund’s rapid growth reflects the fact that the “social” pillar – which has long received much less attention than the “environmental” pillar – is “more than ever at the heart of investors’ concerns”.
The launch of the fund builds on his longstanding involvement in the social bond market – in particular, co-chairing the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) Social Bond Task Force since 2019.
Amundi – which, with €2 trillion in assets, is Europe’s largest asset manager – has used its leading position in the social bond market to help shape market development, including the shift to new categories eligible for social bonds and the definition of the most relevant indicators for social bonds.
The Social Fund of the Year, Europe award also helped Amundi, which manages €360 billion in sustainable bond assets, win the Bond Manager of the Year award for the second consecutive year, reflecting its long-standing reputation for being at the forefront of sustainable bond markets.
An EF Awards judge was particularly impressed by the innovative projects that Amundi has developed with development banks. She launched the $1.4 billion Amundi Planet Emerging Green One focused on emerging market green bonds with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in 2018, and the $500 million Asia Climate Bond portfolio with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in 2019.
In November 2021, the IFC and Amundi also launched a strategic public-private partnership to support the financing needs of a green and inclusive recovery of emerging markets from the Covid-19 crisis – of which bond markets are essential. Amundi also launched the first “just transition” fund in April 2021.
2021 was also a pivotal year for Amundi more broadly around sustainable finance. In 2018, the asset manager defined its plan for integrating ESG criteria into all of its actively managed open-ended funds. This objective was achieved in 2021.
Amundi said this reflected the fact that ESG was no longer a “nice to have” for investors. “There is a strong investor appetite for ESG, along with growing evidence of ESG’s positive impact on financial returns,” according to the company.