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An Asia ESG Fund on Our Radar

Matthews Asia ESG has strong leaders at the helm.

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Christopher Franz: Matthews Asia ESG has several factors in its favor and is on our radar.

First, Matthews has a long and successful history of investing in Asia. The firm launched its first funds in the early 1990s and now has 17 funds in its all-Asia lineup. Of the 11 strategies we cover, all are Morningstar Medalists.

Second, this fund is in good hands. Lead manager Vivek Tanneeru and comanager Winnie Chwang are Matthews veterans, and they’re supported by 40 investment professionals, all with various Asia-investing expertise.

The two employ an attractive process that combines sensible ESG principles and a sound growth discipline. Investing in the world’s most populous countries, the duo believes Asia must be a leader in addressing global ESG issues. For example, Tanneeru thinks the region is a leader in addressing climate change, with increased solar and wind energy adoption and capacity in China, and the two are focused on finding companies combating quality-of-life issues for Asia’s middle class.

Now, the fund has wide leeway relative to its broad, MSCI All Country Asia ex Japan Index. It skews smaller in market cap and invests in Japanese equities. Still, it's bested its bogy and peers since its 2015 inception, with lower volatility.

Investors seeking Asian ESG exposure should consider this option from a reputable shop.

Christopher Franz does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.