Finance: Charities Aid Foundation seeks different ethical fund manager

The Charities Aid Foundation is to put the management of its Socially Responsible Fund out to tender again.

A new manager for the £10m fund, which is currently run by the Norwegian asset management firm Storebrand, will be announced by the end of May.

Gill Nunn, director of business development and charity financial services at the Charities Aid Foundation, said: "The performance of the fund under Storebrand has been a cause for concern."

Figures released last year by the fund intelligence firm Lipper Hindsight showed that the Socially Responsible Fund posted a highly disappointing return of -23.6 per cent between 2000 and 2005. It finished bottom in a table of 62 funds in the Investment Management Association's 'Active Managed' sector.

Nunn said 10 firms had already expressed an interest in taking over the fund, many of which had not managed charity specialist funds before. CAF will write to those that have been included in the shortlist this week.

"What I want is a product that performs and is right for the socially responsible part of the sector," Nunn said. "It's quite a complex area, and people have different views on what an ethical fund should look like.

How far do we push that spectrum without losing the credibility of it being an ethical fund?"

Storebrand has been invited to reapply for the management of the fund, but Nunn said that "it will have to convince us about the fund performance, brand and representation in the UK". The firm has closed its London office and now operates entirely from Oslo.

The new tender is the second the fund has been through since its launch in 2000. In 2003, Storebrand was chosen to replace Henderson Global Investors as manager of the fund, which was originally known as the CAF Ethical Plus fund.

The new manager will be in place by December, with a formal launch planned for February 2007.

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