Threadneedle UK Social Bond Fund
The Threadneedle UK Social Bond Fund was launched in January 2014 as the first daily liquid, fixed income fund to offer ordinary people, as well as institutional investors, an opportunity to invest for both a social and financial return.
The Fund was developed as a partnership between Big Issue Invest, the social investment arm of The Big Issue, and Columbia Threadneedle, one of the UK’s largest asset managers.
The Fund is actively managed and invests in selected listed bonds assessed to support socially beneficial activities and balanced economic development, primarily in the UK.
The Fund has won a string of innovation awards, including the Innovative New Idea Award, Finance for the Future Awards 2014 and the European Pensions Innovation Award, 2015.
The Good Economy co-founders initially led the design of the social performance assessment methodology for Big Issue Invest. We continue to assess and monitor the social performance of the UK Social Bond Fund, producing a detailed Annual Impact Report, which is made available to all investors and the public to ensure high levels of accountability and transparency.
We also participate in the fund’s Social Advisory Committee. This meets regularly to review individual social assessment reports and challenges the fund manager to ensure the Fund is meeting its social objectives.
This fund couldn’t have happened without The Good Economy's commitment to social change and intellectual rigour in creating the social assessment methodology.
The fund is truly different to other ethical bond funds due to its focus on social impact. Nearly 80% of the fund is invested in stocks with high or medium social outcomes. This is in sharp contrast to other bond funds that principally adopt an ethical exclusion approach.
For the year ending 30 June 2019, we reported on the following social outcomes suggesting the Fund was meeting its objective to support more inclusive and sustainable development in the UK:
- £120m was invested by both retail and institutional investors
- Areas of investment were aligned to the UN’s SDGs and included affordable housing, transport, financial inclusion, health and social care, education and community services
- 145 bonds from 100 issuers, including charities, social landlords and listed companies
- 83% of bonds were having a high or medium social performance rating, well above the target of 66%
- 65% of the bonds favoured regional development outside London and the south east.
A full copy of the Threadneedle Annual Impact Report 2020 is available here.