Investing that doesn’t cost the earth

Our Universal MAP range was launched in November 2017 with a clear remit – to bring the benefits of active multi-asset investing to the marketplace at a price more commonly associated with passive strategies at 0.29% capped OCF.

Cost isn't the only driver at play in today's marketplace. Demand for more responsible solutions has picked up significantly, with several factors behind this trend. As individuals we are all aware of the challenges the world faces and, increasingly, we're keen to do our bit.

Our rationale for doing so was simple: we recognised the importance of cost considerations but were firm in our conviction that active investing brings a host of potential advantages. The concept has been readily embraced, its traction with advisers helped by the impressive performance of the original three – Cautious, Balanced and Growth – portfolios since their launch.

In late 2019 we extended the suite, adding new Defensive and Adventurous options to broaden the range's application across more risk profiles, and introduced an Income fund to help advisers cater for clients seeking a yield.

Putting sustainability on the map

Cost isn't the only driver at play in today's marketplace. Demand for more responsible solutions has picked up significantly, with several factors behind this trend. As individuals we are all aware of the challenges the world faces and, increasingly, we're keen to do our bit. That means adjusting our behaviours around things like recycling and the choices we make as consumers – within the latter also falls a growing demand for aligning our investment decisions with broader values. The chances are you're regularly being asked about more sustainability-orientated investment options and the indications are that this trend is set to continue.

Factors driving demand

Your clients may want to invest responsibly for a range and combination of reasons.

These can include:

  • Exclusions – wanting to avoid investing in certain companies because of their products or conduct.
  • Sustainability focus – expressing a preference for investing in companies making a positive contribution to the world we live in.
  • Impact investing – seeking to achieve a positive, measurable impact alongside financial returns.

Cost isn't the only driver at play in today's marketplace. Demand for more responsible solutions has picked up significantly, with several factors behind this trend.

At, BMO our commitment to responsible investment is a firm one. Our heritage spans back to the launch of Europe's first ethically screened fund in 1984 and from there we've continued to innovate for over three decades. Today, we offer a suite of ESG-orientated products and have a team of 17 responsible investment specialists working with our fund managers across a range of activities. For us, responsible investment is about avoiding areas that are doing harm, investing in areas and companies that making a positive contribution and, importantly, using our position as a large asset manager to drive improvement via our voting and engagement activities.

Avoid, invest and improve

We've brought this ethos and capability together with our new BMO Sustainable Universal MAP Funds – a suite of three multi-asset portfolios, Cautious, Balanced and Growth to cover a broad range of risk profiles at 0.39% capped OCF. Like their predecessors, the funds are actively managed – that means hands on asset allocation from our Multi-Asset team and underlying stock selection from equity and fixed income teams that specialise in responsible investing.

Each year we work to measure the impact of our efforts and decisions. With our impact reports investors can see how their fund holding ranks on factors like its carbon intensity and review the results of our engagement activities.

Additionally, there's the role our Responsible Investment team play. They help our managers identify and harness sustainability-orientated themes and opportunities – such as resource efficiency and energy transition – as well as conducting our work as an active shareholder. That means casting votes at company meetings and seeking to drive improvement within the companies in which we invest. This process is called 'engagement' – dialogue with company management around encouraging them do business more sustainably. In 2019, we recorded 313 improvement 'milestones'. As well as this work, they're involved in the strict exclusion criteria applied around the portfolios – they won't invest in weapons, tobacco or fossil fuels for example.

Making an impact

Each year we work to measure the impact of our efforts and decisions. With our impact reports investors can see how their fund holding ranks on factors like its carbon intensity and review the results of our engagement activities. Here we use the Sustainable Development Goals – 17 United Nations developed goals designed to help the world transition to a more sustainable future.

Want to know more?

Get in touch with your usual contact at BMO Global Asset Management or visit bmogam.com

Key Risks

The value of investments and any income derived from them can go down as well as up as a result of market or currency movements and investors may not get back the original amount invested.

Screening out sectors or companies may result in less diversification and hence more volatility in investment values.