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Neuberger Berman launches sustainable Asia high yield fund

Sean_JutahkitiNeuberger Berman has expanded its emerging market debt (EMD) offering with the launch of the Sustainable Asia High Yield fund.

The Ucits-compliant fund will be domiciled in Dublin, and will invest in “high yielding, quality-biased Asian credit opportunities displaying strong sustainability profiles”, according to the asset manager.

It will be benchmarked against the JPMorgan JESG JACI High Yield Index.

The new fund will be managed by Nish Popat, Sean Jutahkiti (pictured) and Prashant Singh. Popat, who is based in London, and Singapore-based Jutahkiti and Singh already oversee the group’s Asian Debt – Hard Currency fund.

They will be supported in the running of the Neuberger Berman Sustainable Asia High Yield fund by the EMD team, including 15 investment professionals based in Singapore and Shanghai.

The managers will analyse ESG factors as they seek to identify businesses that use technology to produce and provide solutions for a low carbon future for the fund to invest in.

The managers’ overall aim is for the portfolio to have a carbon intensity 30% lower than that of the broader Asian high yield market.

The fund will exclude corporate issuers in the bottom tenth of Neuberger Berman’s ESG rankings, as well as sovereign issuers with “weak” ESG profiles.

Neuberger Berman said that the team will “proactively engage” with corporate issuers to improve their ESG profiles and with sovereign issuers to focus on the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals and Guiding Principles of Business and Human Rights.

Popat said: “Asia forms a large and resilient part of the global economy and is now one of the largest bond markets in the world. Yet, sustainable investing all too often stops at the border to the emerging world.

“We believe EMD investors have an important role in promoting sustainability, as emerging countries contain about 80% of the world’s population, contribute towards 60% of its GDP and generate two-thirds of its carbon emissions.”

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