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What’s New In Investments, Funds? – Milltrust, Generali Investments

Editorial Staff 28 March 2023

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The latest news in investment offerings, financial products and other services relative to wealth advisors and their clients.

Milltrust International
Millitrust International, an investment organisation focused on ‘sustainable prosperity’ across public and private capital markets, has launched the British Innovation Fund II along with a venture investment platform, Milltrust Ventures. The fund will target high-impact, early-stage companies with links to UK universities, science and innovation, the firm, which is headquartered in London and Singapore, said in a statement this week.

Following on from Milltrust’s British Innovation Fund, British Innovation Fund II leverages connections with British research institutions, universities and NGOs, to support startups with IP capable of disrupting a range of industries. It will focus on global food systems and health, which have been identified as post-pandemic priorities, both for the UK and internationally, the firm continued.

British Innovation Fund II is investing across three thematic verticals of Green Earth, Smart Proteins and Future Health, supporting UK science and innovation by providing timely capital and high value-add support to early-stage companies in the following fields: medical and diagnostic technologies, recycling and waste management, animal welfare and sustainable food production. 

Milltrust Ventures said it has put together a team of investment managers and advisors with a number of appointments in recent months.

Dr Bernard Ng, a medical and clinical affairs leader and former chief medical officer at Bayer consumer division, is joining Milltrust as chief scientific officer, the firm continued. In addition, Hadyn Craig an agriculture and food-systems specialist, has been appointed to the board of Milltrust Ventures. Craig brings unique expertise developed in previous roles as CEO of Capital Agri International, and as a senior consultant at AbacusBio.

Harry Paul is also joining as venture partner, bringing 30 years of experience in both medical tech and agri-investment, including a former role in Milltrust’s farmland investments (sold to LPPI in 2022) the firm added. He worked in senior roles at Boston Scientific and Roche earlier in his career. 

Simon Hopkins, CEO, Milltrust International said: “The creation of Milltrust Ventures represents a significant step forward in our strategy to foster sustainable prosperity across the globe, recognising the outsized positive impact that rapidly-growing, IP-rich companies can have and the unique alpha they can provide to investors.” 

Alexander Kalis, managing partner and senior portfolio manager of the British Innovation Fund II said: “The successful exit from BIF I has enabled us to reinvest at an advantageous time, with valuation metrics far more appealing for investors today, and our connections with Asia and the continent set to open up new markets for our investee companies”.   

Generali Investments         
Generali Investments Luxembourg and Aperture Investors, part of Generali Investments’ ecosystem of asset management firms, has launched Aperture Investors SICAV – Emerging Debt Opportunities Fund, a value-oriented fixed-income strategy investing in corporate, sovereign, and quasi-sovereign debt securities of selected emerging markets.
 
For the last three decades, the total return for emerging markets external debt has exceeded US Treasuries and US high yield and the asset class is considered as an attractive investment opportunity, as these geographies record continuous GDP growth, lower public debt ratios compared with developed countries, and steadily improving credit quality, the firm said in a statement.

The long duration strategy aims to seize the opportunities generated by the approaching end of the rate hike cycle and the normalisation of the US yield curve, which has shifted dramatically over the past 18 months, the firm continued. Looking at the past, when US dollar yields have peaked, subsequent periods have proved very positive for emerging market returns: credit spreads often tighten, currencies appreciate and equity markets rally, and the new strategy intends to focus on these opportunities.

The investment approach is based on a quantitative framework that analyses economic data from more than 75 emerging countries, representing the primary filter for more than 2,000 bonds. The investments team then analyse for liquidity, credit rating, maturity, and sector to find potential opportunities both in the government and private sector segment. The sub-fund’s investment team is led by Peter Marber, head of emerging markets at Aperture Investors. The fund has a consolidated track record through numerous investment cycles and is composed by investments professionals who have worked together for many years, managing the Aperture New World Opportunities strategy since its launch.

The new fund offers a different risk profile to the existing New World Opportunities strategy. The latter carries a duration of only 2.5 years and BBB blended investment grade credit rating, while the new strategy is slightly lower rated, averaging BB+, with nearly triple the duration. Over the last decade, the longer duration benchmark has exhibited more than twice the volatility of the shorter duration one, but the longer duration strategy also has the potential for higher returns in certain market environments.

Tim Rainsford, CEO of Generali Investments Partners, said: “Aperture Investors SICAV – Emerging Debt Opportunities Fund will seize the potential offered by these regions today, leveraging on the historical low correlation of emerging markets debt with other asset classes, thus providing potential diversification benefits and attractive returns."

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