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Morgan Stanley is making a big move in the world of sustainable finance.
The bank has raised $125 million in commitments for its first global impact fund. It will invest in private-equity funds that demonstrate they positively affect the environment or society while delivering strong financial returns. Morgan Stanley says it believes this is the largest impact fund of funds in existence.
The PMF Integro Fund 1 fund will be managed by AIP Private Markets, the private markets solutions team within Morgan Stanley Investment Management.
“From education and healthcare in South Asia to financial inclusion in South America, the fund epitomizes our belief as a firm that there are opportunities for investors of all types to pursue both positive financial return and sustainable impact,” James Gorman, Morgan Stanley’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement.
Demand for such investment solutions has increased in recent years. According to research from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, there is $21.4 trillion in global assets incorporating socially responsible investing, and 93% of US millennials show a high preference for impact investing.
Wall Street has responded by launching funds, producing more research on sustainable investments, and supporting green capital-markets transactions. The green bond market, for example, passed a milestone earlier this year, with $200 billion in total issuance since the market’s inception. Issuers of such bonds, such as governments and companies, promise to put proceeds toward environmentally friendly projects.
Morgan Stanley says the fund will aim to offer diversified investments with a focus on reducing the effects of climate change and improving access to jobs, education, and healthcare in developing and frontier economies.
“I believe Integro provides a compelling solution for our institutional and high-net-worth clients who are increasingly seeking investment options that target the strong commercial returns that they have come to expect from our team, coupled with demonstrable and measurable social and environmental impact,” said John Wolak, the head of AIP Private Markets.
In conjunction with the announcement, the bank published a list on its website of the top four myths associated with impact investing.