Advantage Investment Partners A/S is a private markets investment management firm, where the collective team invests on behalf of clients in private equity investment opportunities (“Portfolio funds”).
At Advantage, we are committed to investing our clients’ capital in a responsible way by integrating ESG factors, alongside commercial and financial factors, during investment due diligence and ownership.
We are driven by the conviction that addressing ESG issues is a crucial part of investment risk management, and effective mitigation of these issues can have a material impact on value creation in private equity, infrastructure, credit, and real asset investments. We believe that mitigating ESG risks strengthens downside protection for investment returns and enhances investor reputations, which can also lead to value creation. When considering a new fund commitment, we are committed to understanding the Portfolio fund manager’s willingness to adhere to sound ESG practices. Our primary due diligence process must thus identify how the Portfolio fund manager assesses ESG risks.
We acknowledge and take into account, where necessary, that as an investor in primarily US and EU-based companies, a number of the challenges faced by its fellow global citizens, do not necessarily apply to all portfolio companies, given that compliance with local legislation rule out certain behavior. Furthermore, as a limited partner, ADVANTAGE does not have direct interactions with the management of the underlying portfolio companies, invested in by the Portfolio funds. Nevertheless, we are committed to use our influence where relevant, both when investing as well as in terms of how our management company is operated.
Advantage's overarching responsible investment objectives includes, that we will endeavor to:
At Advantage, we incorporate ESG factors into our investment due diligence process, as this is crucial to harnessing the potential for value creation through effective ESG procedures, as well as in protecting the interests and reputations of Advantage and our clients. The ESG due diligence findings are formally documented as part of the final investment recommendations, with potential concerns flagged for consideration by the investment committee.
The ESG due diligence report (“ESG DD report") covers our potential business partners and projects on broad risk factors concerning Environmental, Social and Governance pillars. In the ESG DD, we pay particular attention to the governance pillar and screens the following three key risk areas at the portfolio fund managers:
To determine and cover the above-mentioned key risk areas, we assess the following factors at the portfolio fund managers:
Our ESG due diligence is based on the ethical policy, the ESG policy as well as other information from our potential business partners. Due to our status as a fund-of-funds manager, it falls beyond our rights to monitor ESG-compliance on portfolio level, but we will perform our own risk assessment of ESG risks.
Primary and secondary fund investing: ESG risk management forms an important component of the operational risk assessment conducted on each manager as part of our primary due diligence process and each manager is rated for its ESG approach. Therefore, it represents a formal and documented part of the due diligence and covers the following areas:
Whether the Portfolio fund manager has a formal approach to integrating ESG factors into the due diligence process,
How the Portfolio fund manager engages with portfolio companies on ESG issues, and
That the investment policy of the Portfolio fund is not in conflict with our Ethical Policy.
As part of our due diligence process, the focus is also on examining the potential for fraud, rogue activities, and other unethical behavior by the Portfolio managers as part of referencing and internet searches. The extensive cross referencing of Portfolio managers prior to investment, including both on-list and off-list referencing through our vast network, is an indication of how we make sure to make every effort to invest only in Portfolio managers that are of institutional quality and in Portfolio managers that understand the importance of reputation in the marketplace.
Co-investing: With regard to the portfolio company investment, our due diligence will take account of potential ESG risks that the company may be exposed to, the Portfolio manager’s plan for mitigating these risks, and how this has been achieved with prior investments with similar characteristics.
We assess and monitor financial sustainability risks during investment processes. The ESG DD report has significant relevance to the assessment, determination, and monitoring of financial ESG risks.
Post-investment monitoring: ESG risks must be monitored as well as the portfolio funds’ exposures across portfolios, enabling us, as part of the overall investment monitoring, to achieve maintenance of a comprehensive ESG incidents log.
United Nations Principles for Responsible Investments
Advantage has, as a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Investments, used the following six principles as a framework to our ESG policy across all our investment activities. Hence, we will:
Advantage will avoid investments in the following areas:
The blind-pool nature of private equity fund investments means that it may not always be possible to screen out companies pre-investment that are undesirable from an ESG perspective. In such cases, and in accordance with our wider ESG approach, we will seek to engage and influence the Portfolio fund managers to improve their standards of ESG governance. In addition, the Board of Directors must approve Advantage's Ethical Policy, which set out the areas, which Advantage should avoid investing in, alongside other key elements of our ESG policy. Our Ethical Policy is intended to be part of the side letter for all fund commitments, or to be incorporated in the investment agreement by other means.
No consideration of sustainability adverse impacts
Advantage is a fund-of-funds investor with indirect holdings in portfolio companies through primary and secondary fund investments and minority co-investment holdings. Typically, these types of investments will not provide the level of control or influence to obtain all the required, relevant information, and thus, we often will have no means to ensure that we can receive the information regarding the detailed indicators, as specified in Table 1 of Annex I in the JC 2021 03 Joint ESAS Final Report on draft RTS, with regard to the content, methodologies and presentation of disclosures under the EU Regulation 2019/2088 on sustainability-related disclosures in the financial services sector (SFDR). Currently, it is impossible for us to report on certain of the indicators, given the lack of information available to us, as we are not in a position to obtain and hence, to report on indicators, where we are not provided with the underlying information, required to be disclosed, by Portfolio fund managers. It is unlikely that we will be able to require our existing Portfolio fund managers to comply with our data request (i.e., post-investment), and thereby widen the data reporting for all of their underlying portfolio companies, especially since it regards non-EU Portfolio funds.
As the industry adopts the EU Regulation 2019/2088, we expect to be able to negotiate side letter positions with Portfolio fund managers requiring them to provide the information required to be reported on and disclosed in relation to future investments. As many of our Portfolio fund managers will not be subject to the EU Regulation 2019/2088 we can provide no assurances, but we will endeavor to solicit the referenced information. We believe that we will be able to successfully do so over time, collaborating with other professional and institutional investors as industry practices evolve and further mature.
At Advantage, we consider ESG risks as well as other material sustainability impacts, however, we do not actively consider all of the sustainability adverse impacts specified in Table 1 of Annex I, as this is currently not possible for us.
The purpose of the Advantage's remuneration policy and -practice as well as incentive structure is to facilitate:
Remuneration at the Manager does not take integration of sustainability risks into account, as defined in the Regulation (EU) 2019/1088 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 November 2019 on sustainability-related disclosures in the financial services sector.
The remuneration policy is produced to ensure compliance with the general considerations in § 9 of the Executive order no. 1151 of 24 October 2017, including that the remuneration policy is consistent with the principles of protection of customers and investors, and encompasses precautionary measures to prevent conflict of interests, as well as ensuring that the total variable remuneration does not undermine Advantage's opportunity to strengthen its capital base.
According to Advantage's Policy for Gender Equality, it is our objective to maintain an acceptable balance regarding the share of underrepresented gender in managerial positions in Advantage. In accordance with §28a in the Danish Act on Managers of Alternative Investment Funds, Advantage's board of directors will endeavor to secure diversity in the board of directors, both for qualifications and competences among the members by including this purpose in the Rules of Procedure for the Board of Directors.
Diversity and inclusion
Advantage is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate against employees or applicants on the basis of age, disability, gender, marital or civil partner status, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, or sexual orientation. Further, we strive to maintain an inclusive working environment for all team members, free of biased behavior and discourse.
Below you find the detailed sustainability-related disclosures required to be published according to the EU Commission's Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (EU) 2019/2088 ("the SFDR) for certain financial products. This currently applies to the following funds managed by Advantage Investment Partners A/S, which are categorized as Article 8 products under the SFDR.