BNP Paribas Asset Management has seen its water and environmental strategies gain favour as they provide a thematic tilt to sustainable investing.

The company’s spokesperson told Citywire Asia that it is planning to extend the offering of these two environmental, social and governance (ESG) funds to consumer banks in Singapore and Hong Kong, in addition to private banks.

‘We are now seeing interest from some of the consumer banks as well and it makes sense to register them for retail sale as well, given the growing focus and awareness of ESG funds and sustainable investing,’ the spokesperson said.

The two ESG funds – Parvest Aqua fund and Parvest Global Environment fund – are already available for sale to accredited and professional investors in Singapore and Hong Kong.

The Aqua strategy, which was incepted in 2008, had about €1.35 billion ($1.57 billion) assets as of August 21. The strategy invests in companies with water or related businesses.

The Global Environment strategy, which was also established in 2008, had about €888.03 million ($1.04 billion) in assets.  The strategy invests in companies which derive some of their revenue from businesses within the environmental markets.

Both the Aqua strategy and the Global Environment strategy are co-managed by Citywire A-rated Hubert Aarts and Citywire + rated Bruce Jenkyn-Jones.

Without giving details, BNPP AM said it also has plans to launch a water strategy fund in China under the qualified domestic limited partner scheme.

In Asia, interest in ESG funds have started to pick up in the past 12 to 18 months, and distributors are also starting to engage the end investors on ESG, the spokesperson said.

In fact, most private banks in Asia have already led the charge for encouraging ESG investments by engaging and partnering BNPP AM to educate investors about sustainable investments, and enhance interest and availability of such offerings internally.

‘We remain cognizant that there is still some way to go before ESG-related investments become a mainstay in the Asian investment landscape,’ the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that the thematic tilt to sustainable investing in these ESG funds can be a refreshing way for investors to approach global listed equities.