Fixed income manager of the year and Social fund of the year, Europe: Amundi

Amundi Asset Management secured both the Fixed income manager of the year and Social fund of the year in Europe awards after its long-standing record as a sustainable fixed income innovator was strengthened by its launch of the first dedicated social bond fund.

In November 2020, Amundi launched its ground-breaking Social Bonds fund amid rapid growth in social bond issuance following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The fund – which was the first with a high allocation to labelled social bonds – now has €340 million ($356 million) in assets under management. Amundi said the rapid growth of the fund reflects the fact that 'social' pillar – which for so long received significantly less attention than the 'environmental' pillar – is "more than ever at the core of investors' concerns".

The fund launch builds on its long-standing market involvement in social bonds – in particular, co-chairing the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) social bond working group since 2019.

Amundi – which with €2 trillion in assets is the largest European asset manager – has used its leading position in the social bond market to help shape the development of the market, including the shift into new eligible categories for social bonds and outlining which are the most relevant metrics for social bonds.

The Social fund of the year, Europe award also helped Amundi – which manages €360 billion in sustainable fixed income assets – to scoop the Fixed income manager of the year award for the second year in a row, reflecting its long-standing reputation for being at the forefront of sustainable fixed income markets.

One EF Awards judge was particularly impressed by the innovative projects Amundi has developed with development banks. It 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 emerging market recovery from the Covid-19 crisis – of which the fixed income markets are critical. Amundi also launched the first 'just transition' fund in April 2021.

2021 also proved a milestone year for Amundi more broadly around sustainable finance. In 2018, the asset manager set out its plan to integrate ESG criteria across all its actively manager open-ended funds. This target was achieved during 2021.

Amundi said this was a reflection of the fact that ESG is no longer a "nice to have" for investors. "There is strong investor appetite for ESG, as well as increasing evidence of the positive impact of ESG on financial returns," according to the firm.