Fund manager channels fees to tackle coronavirus in developing world

A London investment manager is launching a campaign to encourage investors to support communities in the developing world hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Alquity’s 40-40 campaign aims to improve the lives of 40,000 people in countries where overcrowded living conditions, chronic ill health and weak public health systems leave the population at risk from coronavirus.

Through 40-40, which launches on Thursday, Alquity will donate 40% of its management fees from new investments to programmes which support vulnerable people in emerging markets. It hopes that this will channel $1m (£800,000) to good causes.

“The 40-40 campaign is our response to the severe economic and social hardship the Covid-19 epidemic will cause many people around the world,” said Alquity’s chairman, Paul Robinson.

Alquity is also worried that the financial impacts of quarantining are more damaging for those on low incomes in emerging markets, as people have fewer savings and little regulatory protection.

“As some of the freedoms and comforts we are used to in developed countries are dramatically reduced, we are getting a glimpse of what daily life is like for a some of the poorest people on the planet,” Robinson said.

Alquity wants clients to sign up to its campaign and signal their support for sustainable economic development.

“By signing up to the 40-40 partnership agreement, in addition to the enhanced donation, investors will be signalling their commitment to creating a fairer, more sustainable world,” said Alquity’s co-founder, Suresh Mistry.

Alquity runs a range of funds which invest in emerging markets. Founded in 2009, it uses environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) standards when choosing which stocks to buy. It already donates at least 10% of its management fees to charitable causes, as a “social investment”, and will raise this to 40% for money invested through the campaign.

Since launching its Transforming Lives Foundation in 2011, Alquity has donated around $2m – which it says has helped some 60,000 people.

One project backed by Alquity, called Phool, recycles flowers from Indian temples into incense sticks, which are then sold. This has provided income for more than 1,200 women, and prevented the flowers from being thrown away into rivers.

It has also supported educational projects in Vietnam, Uganda and Brazil, women’s employment projects in Ghana and Mexico, and waste collection groups in India and Kenya. Several of these projects have already been disrupted by the pandemic.

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