Boutique investment manager of the year – Impax Asset Management

Channels: ESG

Companies: Impax Asset Management

People: Ian Simm

 A series of mandate wins capped a strong year for Impax Asset Management.

Impax has a 20-year history of identifying and backing companies that help provide solutions to problems such as climate change and water scarcity.

The asset manager can boast a strong performance for many of its strategies in the year to 5 April 2019, including:

  • Its Specialists strategy, which focuses on global small cap companies operating in 'environmental markets', returned 11.5%.
  • Its Leaders strategy, investing in global large-cap companies, returned 13.7%.
  • Its Water strategy returned 13.1%.

In the same time period, the MSCI ACWI grew by 13.1%.

Its Global Opportunities Strategy, which now has a four-year track record, has returned 78.9% since inception to 5 April 2019, versus the MSCI ACWI, which has delivered 57.0% over the same period. The strategy looks beyond the environmental markets in its search for sustainable companies.

Impax says its approach is underpinned by market-leading research that explores "risk management beyond ESG", including its 'smart carbon' assessment of long-term carbon risk.

In recent months, Impax's impressive track record helped it to win mandates including from Swedish pension fund AP7, which awarded Impax one of two "green impact investment" mandates that totalled SEK3 billion ($300 million).

In addition, the Global Opportunities strategy won substantial mandates from the University of Manchester Superannuation Scheme, West Midlands Pension Fund and St James's Place.

One judge said: "Much imitated, but seldom surpassed. [Impax is a] genuine thought leader and quite unafraid to challenge conventional wisdom."

Another judge said: "One of the pioneers in sustainable investing, Impax continues to bring innovative analytical frameworks and investment products to the market."

Ian SimmAssets under management (AUM) increased by 21% to £13.7 billion ($16.6 billion) in the year to 30 April 2019.

This follows a period of continuous growth, with Impax's interim results showing 14 consecutive quarters of positive net inflows, including £887 million of inflows in the six months leading to 31 March 2019. In January 2018, it bought Pax World Funds.

CEO Ian Simm said: "The environmental markets sector is continuing to prove itself as a place for excellent investment returns. We have been working hard to make that true.

"There's a great future for boutiques like Impax that are able to attract and maintain talented people with deep insights into these areas – the future is overwhelmingly rosy."