MetLife Bets on ESG With Affirmative Investment Management Acquisition

The deal comes amid a new wave of Republican-led ESG bans.

Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

In a bid to increase its ESG offerings, MetLife Investment Management has acquired Affirmative Investment Management, a roughly $1 billion London-based fixed income manager focused on impact investing.

MetLife Investment Management, which manages $590.9 billion, announced the deal, which requires regulatory approval to close, on Monday.

“Deepening our sustainability and ESG capabilities strengthens MIM’s global resources, better positioning us to serve asset owners that are seeking integration of ESG factors into traditional fixed income mandates along with assistance in portfolio and regulatory reporting, as regulatory bodies continue implementation of required disclosures and reporting,” said chief investment officer and president of MIM, Steve Goulart, via email.

The deal comes as certain Republican-led states have begun pushing back on managers that incorporate ESG considerations into their investment practices.

For example, on Wednesday Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced a list of asset managers the state could no longer do business with, on the grounds of their decisions to exclude energy companies from certain financial products. Days earlier, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced that Florida SBA could no longer include ESG considerations in its investment process.

MetLife Investment Management was not included on the Texas comptroller’s list.


“We are not in a position to comment on other asset managers but are confident that we are acquiring a thought leader and key resource in AIM,” Goulart said via email.

Affirmative Investment Management, for its part, has operated since 2014, with a keen focus on impact investments. The firm offers single currency impact bonds, which are green bonds converted into a mainstream portfolio, in addition to multi-currency impact bonds and liquid impact bonds.

In addition to choosing investments based on a process that includes ESG considerations, Affirmative Investment Management also engages with its issuers at roadshows, in addition to regular calls and in-office meetings, according to the firm’s website.

According to the deal announcement, MetLife Investment Management sees the deal as a way to add new capabilities for evaluating sustainability and risk as part of the investment process. For AIM, the deal will allow access to a massive institutional investment firm.

“Upon our planned integration with MIM’s investment teams, we believe that we can deliver differentiated insights and analysis to MIM’s growing roster of global clients,” Stephen Fitzgerald, co-founder of the firm, said in a statement.