Echiquier Positive Impact Europe investment review
Created in 2010, then backed by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as of 2017, Echiquier Positive Impact Europe is pursuing a long-term, twofold objective: to generate financial performance and positive impact. We select companies that contribute to the achievement of the SDGs, have a quality environmental, social and governance (ESG) profile, and offer real potential for appreciation. We open a long-term dialogue with the leaders of these companies and share progress areas in order to contribute to improving companies’ impact and ESG practices.
The market environment in 2022 was not good for positioning. By its nature, the fund does not invest in oil companies, heavy metals, weapons, tobacco or the banking sector, which were some of the year’s top-performing investment themes.
The war in Ukraine upended our initial scenario of an economic rebound paired with moderate inflation. With higher and seemingly longer-lasting inflationary pressures, the market began to decline. At the same time, the central banks began a series of abrupt rate hikes to contain inflation, which was exacerbated by lockdowns. This triggered market corrections and several rotations to value, especially in December. In these conditions, the fund suffered from its overweight to growth stocks and its exposure to small and mid-caps, down -30% as the year began.
For 2023 we anticipate a slowdown in the global economy with a recession in Europe. While inflation remains high, we believe that the peak has been reached, which should stabilise interest rates.
In response, we boosted our exposure to resilient, high-quality companies with strong pricing power, such as Novo Nordisk (SDG 3, Air Liquide (SDG 7) and Relx (SDG 4 and 16), which now make up more than 85% of the fund. Value and cyclical companies, whose fundamentals will stay solid, such as Schneider Electric (SDG 7), make up nearly 15% of the portfolio.
Simultaneously, throughout the year we reduced the portfolio’s average valuation multiples to make it more resistant to continued rate increases. We also improved the fund’s technical resilience indicators, like the beta, and upped its liquidity by reducing the weight of small and mid-caps (< 25%) to withstand volatility and declining market indices.
In our view, the shocks of Covid and the war in Ukraine have accelerated three major trends, which the fund is exposed to by nature, and which we built up in 2022: the climate transition and energy sovereignty, rising healthcare costs, and business digitalisation.
Our investment strategy remains unchanged, still overweight to healthcare (31% of the fund), the energy transition via sustainable mobility, energy efficiency/renewable energy (30%) and digital solutions (21%). Despite the high volatility of 2022, the portfolio’s turnover remained limited, demonstrating our long-term commitment to the companies we invest in.
Adrien Bommelaer, Paul Merle and Luc Olivier, CFA, Fund Managers of Echiquier Positive Impact Europe, La Financière de l’Echiquier
Ability to raise their prices
Disclaimers: The Fund is currently exposed to the risk of capital loss, equity risk, small and mid-cap investment risk and discretionary management risk.
The stocks referred to are given by way of example. Neither their presence in the portfolio nor their performance are guaranteed.
For more information on the characteristics, risks, and costs of these funds, and before making any investment, we invite you to read the regulatory documents available on our website at www.lfde.com.
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