Morningstar has given its "Socially Conscious" designation to the JPMorgan Municipal Income Fund, making it one of the first in the municipal bond space to carry this label, J.P. Morgan Asset Management announced on Wednesday.
"Municipal bonds naturally align with a sustainable mission, as debt proceeds often fund essential services that benefit states and local communities," Rick Taormina, Head of Tax Aware Strategies at J.P. Morgan Asset, said in a press release.
The fund invests most of its assets in those municipal bonds which provide positive social and environmental benefits.
In order to identify bonds with positive social impacts, portfolio managers work with credit research analysts within a proprietary framework that relies on internal assessment and third party data to track each bond's intended use of proceeds.
The fund, which has been around for 24 years, is managed by a team that includes portfolio managers Jennifer Tabak and David Sivinski. It currently has $269 million in assets under management.
"Clients are increasingly looking for sustainable investment strategies to build out their portfolios and there are limited investment options for municipals," Jamie Kramer, Head of Strategic Product Management & ESG for J.P. Morgan Asset Management, said in the release.
J.P. Morgan Asset Management has $1.5 trillion of assets under management as of Dec. 31, 2016. Its parent is JPMorgan Chase & Co. which has assets of about $2.5 trillion as of Sept. 30, 2016 with operations in over 60 countries.