The AXA WF Framlington Women Empowerment Fund, launched in 2017, has so far invested in companies that promote gender diversity. Since 10 April 2021, diversity has been a target of several of the Fund's social objectives. Its investment universe has been expanded to address all United Nations Sustainable Development Goals with a social focus. In this context, the fund has also been renamed and is now called AXA WF Framlington Social Progress Fund.

Investment target diversity is weakened
The fund will henceforth invest in companies that address a range of social issues. “These range from the most basic to advanced needs that sustain human progress. There are still many unmet social needs that companies can address to improve the situation for underserved people in developing and developed countries, ”AXA IM said in a press release.

The sub-fund of the Luxembourg-domiciled SICAV aims to achieve both long-term growth and sustainability as an investment objective. The Sub-Fund seeks to achieve this by selecting companies that create financial and societal value by promoting social progress.

The fund pursues a socially responsible selection approach in which the best issuers are selected on the basis of their contribution to the socially oriented sustainable development goals of the United Nations (“Social UN SDGs”). This selection process aims to reduce the investment universe by at least 20%. A combination of external and internal SDGs alignment data is used.

The strategy includes three critical social needs:

  • Access to affordable housing, basic infrastructure and financial & digital inclusion (UN SDGs 8, 9, 11);
  • Enable medical coverage and an accessible healthcare system (UN SDGs 2, 3, 11, 16);
  • Progress by investing in companies that promote education, entrepreneurship and wellbeing (UN SDGs 4, 5, 8, 9)

Broad promotion of social issues
The fund is part of AXA IM's ACT fund range, which has been classified as an Article 9 product in accordance with the EU Regulation on the Disclosure of Sustainable Financial Products (SFDR). The fund also uses AXA IM's impact approach to listed assets, where the portfolio manager uses an impact approach when selecting securities. AXA IM also donates 5% of the management fees paid by the fund to various charities. These support initiatives in the areas of education (Epic Foundation), biodiversity & climate and health (Access to Medicine Foundation). The fund has received the French SRI label.

Anne Tolmunen remains Portfolio Manager at AXA WF Framlington Social Progress Fund. She explains why it makes sense to invest in social progress: “We assume that around 15% of adults worldwide will still not have a bank account by 2022 - that corresponds to around a billion people. In 2016, around 1.9 million deaths could have been prevented by an adequate supply of clean water, sanitary facilities and hygiene measures. So there is still a lot to be done to promote social progress. And this is exactly where the financial sector plays a key role, as we, as active asset managers, make targeted investments in companies. That is the reason why we have expanded the investment universe of our fund. "

AXA IM announces that the economic empowerment of women will continue to be an important focus within the Social Progress Fund. In addition, promoting gender diversity in the workplace will continue to be an important aspect of AXA IM's active ownership agenda.

The fund is registered and is available to professional and private investors in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Singapore (only to a limited extent) and Spain.

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