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Janus Henderson Enters Crowded ESG Field With Five Active ETFs

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Janus Henderson is joining the ESG rush in the $6.8 trillion exchange-traded fund market. The $428 billion asset manager is launching five actively managed ETFs that integrate sustainable investing criteria, according to a statement Thursday.

Three will invest in equities, with products targeting U.S., international and natural-resource stocks. Two focus on fixed income, buying corporate credit and a broader range of bonds.

They’re the latest addition to the booming industry for funds that meet higher environmental, social and governance standards. In 2020 and the first half of 2021, 57 U.S.-listed ETFs incorporating ESG criteria debuted, compared with 40 in the previous two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“We’ve just seen a significant shift over the last probably two years of more and more clients moving from talking about ESG and thinking about ESG to acting and making significant allocations,” Nick Cherney, head of exchange-traded products at Janus, said in an interview.

The new products are:

  • the International Sustainable Equity ETF (ticker SXUS)
  • the Net Zero Transition Resources ETF (JZRO)
  • the Sustainable & Impact Core Bond ETF(JIB)
  • the Sustainable Corporate Bond ETF (SCRD)
  • the U.S. Sustainable Equity ETF (SSPX)

The estimated expense ratios for the five funds range from 0.35% to 0.6%. The equity funds aim to be “high conviction, high impact portfolios” that consist of 30 to 60 stocks, Cherney said.

In actively managing the products, Janus can go beyond just screening companies and also conduct deep analysis on potential holdings, he said.

“It is inadequate to position a fund as being sustainable or ESG if all it does is apply third-party negative screens,” said Cherney. “The reality is that the issues surrounding sustainability are extraordinarily complex.”

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