Fresno County Pension Fund, Royal Bank of Canada Partner for Impact Investment Venture

Deal aims to aid California county’s fixed income investments and help local businesses with government lenders.

The $4.5 billion Fresno County Employees Retirement Association will partner with the Royal Bank of Canada’s asset management arm (RBC) for an impact investing move that is intended to help with homeownership, affordable rental housing, and small business development in Fresno County in California.

The agreement sees the fund funneling $45 million through RBC Global Asset Management’s access capital community investment strategy to create a portfolio of top-notch fixed income investments in the area. These funds will support the aforementioned sectors as well as small business loans via local lenders that use government loan programs.

“The community knows we’re buying the debt of small business loans that add job/services to the local community and help encourage affordable housing and healthcare for low-income families,” Catherine Banat, an institutional portfolio manager at RBC, told CIO of the partnership’s initiative.  “We think that we’ve continued to grow awareness with more investors to understand they can align their dollars beyond their financial goals without sacrificing [those financial goals].”

RBC’s strategy is fixed income geared toward building up lower-income communities. The strategy has more than $1 billion in assets under management as of September 30.

“This $45 million initiative fulfills our commitment to our active, retired, and beneficiary members while also making a tangible difference locally,” said Nathan Magsig, chairman of the Fresno County pension fund, which handles the retirement benefits for county pensioners and local participating agencies, such as the county branch of the Superior Court of California. 

 “This is a real double bottom line, benefiting our pension plan and helping others thrive in the community in which we live at the same time.  We will help the ‘doers’ in our community succeed while earning a competitive return on our investment,” Magsig said.

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