Morgan Stanley raised $125 million for a new fund -- and it highlights one of the hottest trends in investing

James GormanNeilson Barnard/Getty ImagesJames P. Gorman, CEO of

Morgan Stanley is making a big move in the world of sustainable finance.

The bank has raised $US125 million for its first global impact fund. It will invest in private equity funds that demonstrate a positive impact on the environment or society, while also delivering strong financial returns. Morgan Stanley said it believes this is the largest impact fund of funds in existence.

The PMF Integro Fund 1 fund will be managed by AIP Private Markets, the private markets solutions team within Morgan Stanley Investment Management.

“From education and healthcare in South Asia, to financial inclusion in South America, the Fund epitomizes our belief as a firm that there are opportunities for investors of all types to pursue both positive financial return and sustainable impact,” Morgan Stanley chairman and CEO James Gorman said in a statement.

Demand for such investment solutions has increased in recent years. According to research from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, there is $US21.4 trillion in global assets incorporating socially responsible investing, while 93% of US millennials show a high preference for impact investing

Wall Street has responded by launching funds, producing more research on sustainable investments, and supporting green capital markets transactions. The green bond market, for example, passed a milestone earlier this year, with $US200 billion in total issuance since the market’s inception. Issuers of such bonds, such as governments and companies, promise to put proceeds toward environmentally friendly projects.

The Morgan Stanley fund will aim to offer diversified investments with a focus on reducing the impact of climate change and improving access to jobs, education, and healthcare in developing and frontier economies.

“I believe Integro provides a compelling solution for our institutional and high net worth clients who are increasingly seeking investment options that target the strong commercial returns that they have come to expect from our team, coupled with demonstrable and measurable social and environmental impact,” John Wolak, Head of AIP Private Markets, said.

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