Nordea AM expands diversity strategy with a focus on engagement

by | Aug 7, 2023

Nordea Asset Management (NAM), a global leader in sustainable and responsible investing, has realigned Nordea 1 – Global Gender Diversity Fund to expand its investment universe and focus on engagement. The changes are reflected in the fund’s new name: Nordea 1 – Global Diversity Engagement Fund. 

The move comes at the same time NAM announces its participation as a cofounder in the Diversity Project Europe (DPE), a cross-border and cross-company initiative aiming to pave the way towards a more inclusive asset management industry across Europe.

Societal demands for change in relation to improving diversity and inclusion (D&I) continue to evolve beyond just gender representation. In addition, diversity data disclosure is continually progressing and revealing the wider complexity of D&I issues.

By extending the global equity strategy’s investment universe to include additional D&I factors, NAM aims to capture a broader range of companies in the early stages of D&I development.

Portfolio managers Julie Bech and Audhild Aabø, will continue to manage the expanded portfolio. While the managers will adopt the same investment process, engagement with investee companies is now a core component of the strategy. 

Helping companies accelerate the adoption of positive D&I practices can unlock long-term value, the managers believe, as the market is increasingly likely to reward companies displaying sound ESG practices. 

The portfolio managers will draw upon the extensive engagement expertise and insights of NAM’s Responsible Investment (RI) team. The award-winning team, one of the most experienced of its kind in Europe, has been supporting investment-led and thematic engagement on ESG issues for almost 15 years. In 2022, NAM’s RI team conducted nearly 1,000 engagement actions around the world.

This is NAM’s second thematic ESG strategy with engagement as a defined element of the investment process, following the launch of the Nordea 1 – Global Climate Engagement Fund in April last year. 

Julie Bech, co-manager of Nordea 1 – Global Diversity Engagement Fund, says: “Expanding the investment focus of this fund gives us a broader scope, which translates into broader impact. The refocusing also allows us to place a stronger emphasis on engagement in order to drive both alpha and social change.”

As a result of the wider investment universe and increased focus on engagement, Nordea 1 – Global Diversity Engagement Fund will be reclassified as an SFDR Article 8 product. This ensures no candidates for positive corporate change are excluded from consideration. However, NAM remains committed to maintaining a minimum proportion of 50% in sustainable investments.

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