Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Criterion launches Canada’s first global clean energy fund

A new global fund that invests in the world's top clean-energy companies is to be launched in Canada today by Criterion Investments Ltd., which sees huge opportunity in efforts to "de-carbonize" the environment.

Ian McPherson, president of Criterion, an affiliate of VenGrowth Asset Management Inc. of Toronto, said clean energy has matured beyond being a niche sector that until recently could only be tapped by seeking out and placing bets on individual companies.

"The sector has matured; it's no longer nascent," said McPherson. "You have very strong capital flows and now there's some investment management talent in the area, whereas historically there's been a real shortage."

The timing is right to launch a managed fund, he said. "It's on people's radar screens. Clean energy has more mainstream acceptance."

The company is billing the RRSP-eligible Criterion Global Clean Energy Fund as the first Canadian fund of its kind focused on the clean-energy theme. Geneva-based Pictet Asset Management SA is investment adviser for the "high-risk" fund, which the Swiss company launched in May and is currently available throughout Europe and parts of Asia.

Phillipe de Weck, senior fund manager from Pictet, said in a phone interview from Geneva that concern over climate change and a worldwide drive to reduce greenhouse gases, backed by ambitious government targets and incentives, has primed the sector for long-term growth.

"We believe it will outperform the economy as a whole," he said, pointing out that the fund has jumped 7 per cent in its first four months compared to a drop of 2 per cent on the MSCI World Index, which measures the performance of market indices in 23 developed countries....

More at the Toronto Star