Ethical funds manager Hunter Hall has signed on a distribution partner in New Zealand and is about to expand its UK business.

David Buckland, Hunter Hall chief executive, said yesterday that the group had hired a third-party distributor in New Zealand, The Investment Store, to help sell its funds across the Tasman. As well, Buckland said Hunter Hall was in the final stages of gaining regulatory approval that would enable it to market its products more aggressively in the UK, Europe and “parts of Asia”. He said Hunter Hall expected to gain UCITS (Undertakings for Collective Investments in Transferable Securities) approval for its Dublin-domiciled fund by March next year. The manager has run a small London-based operation for several years but the Hunter Hall International Ethical Fund has garnered only $20 million from the UK to date. “The [UK] product is a few years old but with the UCITS approval we will look to market it more,” Buckland said. “Until now we’ve been more focused on the Australian market and then getting the New Zealand deal organised. The UK is the next cab off the rank.” He said Hunter Hall was also close to launching its first ‘deep green’ fund that would have a positive ethical screen rather than the negative ethical overlay the manager uses for its current products. According to Buckland, the Hunter Hall Global Deep Green Fund will concentrate on sectors such as renewable energy and biomedical companies. “It will be a unique product in Australia,” he said. Hunter Hall currently manages over $2 billion, $1.2 billion of which is invested in the flagship Value Growth Trust that has returned 19.4 per cent per annum since its inception 12 years ago. Buckland said the company also gave 5 per cent of its profits to charity each year, which in the last financial year equated to donations of $938,000.

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