This Mutual Fund Is Investing In Sustainable REITs
San Francisco-based Vert Asset Management has launched the first sustainable real estate mutual fund in the country. The Vert Global Sustainable Real Estate Fund is an open-end mutual fund seeking long-term capital appreciation. It will use evidence-based environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics to invest in publicly listed REITs committed to sustainability.
“Financial advisers are looking for more choices in ESG funds to round out their asset allocations,” Vert CEO and co-founder Sam Adams said. “They’ve asked us for a pure real estate fund that meets their clients’ preference for sustainability.”
The fund’s proprietary ESG research methodology integrates academic research, industry best practices and third-party data to evaluate companies for sustainability. The fund uses a long-term buy-and-hold strategy, and companies are held at approximately market cap weights to maintain diversification and reduce turnover.
“Real estate has a huge impact on the environment, but it’s also a huge opportunity,” Vert’s Investment Research Group member Gary Pivo said. “Buildings generate 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions, but reducing those emissions by reducing energy use is often very profitable."
The fund is sub-advised by Dimensional Fund Advisors. Vert designed the fund strategy and oversees the eligible universe of securities, and Dimensional is focused on the implementation of the strategy. Vert aims to be an active and engaged shareholder.
“REITs have abundant opportunities to maximize stakeholder value by being more sustainable and more transparent,” Vert Chief Sustainability Officer and co-founder Sarah Adams said. “Through direct engagement and coordinated campaigns with other asset owners, we will encourage REITs to do more in terms of sustainability and disclosure.”