Interactive Investor

Threadneedle UK Social Bond Fund under formal review

23rd May 2022 09:57

Jemma Jackson from interactive investor

ii move prompted by industry veteran and social bond pioneer Simon Bond announcing his retirement in 2023.

Appropriately named Simon Bond, the highly experienced and long-standing manager of the Threadneedle UK Social Bond Fund, has announced he will retire in 2023, and will step back from fund management responsibilities on 30 June 2022. As a result, the ii ACE 40 rated fund has been placed under formal review by Morningstar on behalf of interactive investor.

Simon Bond is a well-respected industry veteran, having been at Columbia Threadneedle for more than 19 years. He steps back after a 37-year career in financial services, most of which has coincided with a spectacular bull run for bonds – until more recent challenging times.

Dzmitry Lipski, Head of Fund Research, interactive investor, explains: “Simon Bond has been a true pioneer in social bond investing. Not only does he have extensive knowledge and passion for the sector, but he has been actively campaigning for game-changing green gilts since 2019. We witnessed the first issuance of a green gilt in the UK in 2021.

“Threadneedle UK Social Bond fund, which Simon has managed since its inception, was one of the first funds to feature on ii’s ACE 40 rated list, due to Simon’s impressive experience as a manager, and the fund’s respectable performance. The fund aims to provide both income and the potential to grow capital. At the same time, it is a strong choice for investors who are particularly concerned with the ‘S’ (Social) in ‘ESG’ which stands for environmental, social and governance.

“So, for example - the fund invests in bonds issued by companies, governments, voluntary organisations and/or charities that engage in socially beneficial activities and development.

“However, as Simon takes a step back from the day-to-day running of the fund after so many years, Morningstar must take the time to properly assess whether this changes anything going forward, and whether we can continue to recommend it.”

interactive investor’s flagship rated list, Super 60, turned three years old this year, and its sustainable sister list, ACE 40, turned two. ii, the UK’s second-largest investment platform for private investors, has been evolving its rated products, and handed over the day care to Morningstar’s Manager Selection Services Group in January of this year. 

The collation, production and maintenance of the platform’s select lists (Super 60, ACE 40, Quick-start Funds, model portfolios and Investment Pathways) have been outsourced to Morningstar Manager election Services Group, further cementing ii’s unconflicted business model. However, the rated list and model portfolio methodology is still owned by ii, and the recommendations will continue to be made from the whole funds, investment trust, and ETF universe.

Morningstar says:

Following the news that Simon Bond, manager of the Threadneedle UK Social Bond fund will retire in 2023 we are placing the fund Under Review. Bond has been at Columbia Threadneedle for more than 19 years and has been in the investment industry for more than 37 years. As part of his transition to retirement he is stepping back from fund management responsibilities on 30 June 2022 but will remain with the business until March 2023 to help oversee the handover of management responsibilities. He will also continue as a member of the fund’s established social advisory committees. Tammie Tang who currently works alongside Bond as the fund’s deputy manager will take over as lead manager. She has been with the Group for 10 years and been deputy on the fund for the last four. We will meet with the managers in due course to review these changes.

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