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What are we looking for?

Low-carbon mutual funds that are outpacing their peers.

The screen

Although crude prices have rebounded off their historic lows from two weeks ago, investors are likely skittish of what the future holds. Volatility in oil prices not only affects those who are invested directly, but also those who are passively indexed to most market cap-weighted Canadian equity benchmarks, which have between 13-per-cent and 15-per-cent exposure to the sector. This week, I use Morningstar’s database to look for Canadian-domiciled funds that have managed to provide excellent risk-adjusted returns to investors while minimizing exposure to carbon risk. I found these funds by screening for funds that:

  • Have received the Morningstar Low Carbon Designation, which assesses a) exposure to and management of carbon-related risks by companies held in the fund portfolio, and b) exposure to companies deriving revenue from fossil fuels. The designation considers Sustainalytics’ company carbon risk-rating, which measures how material carbon risks are in a company’s supply chain, internal operations and its product or service, as well as the company management’s ability to reduce emissions and carbon-related risks.
  • Are rated five stars. Recall that the Morningstar rating overall (also know as the “star rating”) is a backward looking assessment of funds’ risk-adjusted returns after fees relative to its peer group. Funds that have received five stars have historically outperformed funds in the same category that have four stars, three stars, etc.
  • Have a Morningstar Quantitative Rating of gold or silver. This is Morningstar’s forward-looking assessment of a fund’s prospective ability to outperform similar funds after fees, based on five factors: people (the quality of management team); process (the effectiveness and consistency of the investment process); parent (organizational structure and talent retention); performance; and price (fees). Over the long term, gold, silver and bronze funds are expected to outperform neutral and negative funds after fees.

Only the oldest share class of each fund in our database was considered.

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More about Morningstar

Morningstar Research Inc. is a leading provider of independent investment research in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. Morningstar offers an extensive line of products and services for individual investors, financial advisers, asset managers, retirement plan providers and sponsors, and institutional investors. Morningstar Direct is the firm’s multi-asset analysis platform built for asset management and financial services professionals. Morningstar Canada on Twitter: @MorningstarCDN.

What we found

Shown in the table are the funds that met the above requirements along with their category identification, associated fees, ratings, inception dates and trailing returns. Note that many of the funds listed here are F-class funds, which are made available through a fee-based adviser who may charge an overall management fee separate from what is listed in the table. Although I didn’t search for it explicitly, readers will quickly notice that all funds here are largely invested outside of Canada.

This column does not constitute financial advice. It is always recommended to speak to a financial adviser or investment professional before investing.

Select Canadian-domiciled low-carbon mutual funds

Fund NameMER (%)Morningstar CategoryMorningstar Rating OverallMorningstar Quantitative RatingLow Carbon DesignationInception DateYTD Ttl. Rtn. (%)1Y Ttl. Rtn. (%)3Y Ann. Ttl. Rtn. (%)5Y Ann. Ttl. Rtn. (%)10Y Ann. Ttl. Rtn. (%)15Y Ann. Ttl. Rtn. (%)
Dynamic Global Dividend Series F1.10Global Equity5 StarGoldYes3/3/2006-2.74.911.113.412.1n/a
Fidelity AsiaStar Series F1.18Asia Pacific Eqty.5 StarSilverYes5/4/2006-5.9-2.56.57.38.7n/a
Global Iman2.82Global Equity5 StarSilverYes3/6/20093.614.011.211.210.9n/a
Manulife Global Equity Class F1.23Global Equity5 StarGoldYes11/2/2009-3.12.98.19.913.3n/a
Manulife US Equity F1.24U.S. Equity5 StarGoldYes6/27/2008-0.37.911.913.215.1n/a
Manulife World Investment F1.20Int'l Equity5 StarGoldYes8/1/2013-7.5-4.31.75.6n/an/a
PH&N Global Equity Fund D1.19Global Equity5 StarSilverYes12/7/2000-4.60.29.311.111.96.7
RBC Global Equity Focus Fund F0.98Global Equity5 StarSilverYes4/28/2014-4.50.39.511.2n/an/a
RBC Vision Global Equity Fund F0.99Global Equity5 StarSilverYes7/3/2007-2.93.610.69.912.2n/a
Sun Life Dynamic American F1.38U.S. Equity5 StarGoldYes1/30/20150.43.911.414.1n/an/a
Sun Life MFS Global Growth F1.12Global Equity5 StarSilverYes9/30/2010-4.34.410.011.4n/an/a

Source: Morningstar Direct

Ian Tam, CFA, is director of investment research for Morningstar Canada.

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