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Gore's fund closes in on $5-billion goal

Fund that hews to socially responsible guidelines set to be closed to new money

Bloomberg News

GENEVA -- Al Gore's Generation Investment Management Ltd., a fund that invests in companies that follow socially responsible guidelines, plans to close its main Global Equity Fund to new money as assets approach a $5-billion (U.S.) target.

Generation will probably restrict inflows into the fund from next month, Mr. Gore and company co-founder David Blood told reporters in Geneva yesterday. Swiss private bank Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch & Cie, which started selling the fund in continental Europe last year, is now its biggest investor. The former U.S. vice-president founded Generation with Mr. Blood, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker, in 2004.

Mr. Gore, 59, and a United Nations panel on the environment were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in October for raising awareness of the threat from climate change. The fund invests in companies following principles for the treatment of the environment, workers and others in the expectation that they will report better returns.

"More money is allocated by markets around the world in one hour than by all the governments on the planet in a full year," Mr. Gore said. "The principles and ways and values that have an impact on the way markets allocate resources can have an enormous effect" in tackling climate change, he said.

Mr. Gore declined to give performance details for the fund, which was started in 2004.

The fund's largest holding is the 7 per cent of assets invested in Novo Nordisk AS, the world's largest insulin maker. Mr. Gore and Mr. Blood have also invested in Nestlé SA, the world's largest food company, and Johnson Controls Inc., the largest maker of automotive seats and batteries.

Novo Nordisk has advanced 34 per cent over the past 12 months in Denmark trading, while Nestlé has risen 2.1 per cent in Zurich and Johnson Controls, based in Milwaukee, has fallen 0.8 per cent. The Morgan Stanley Capital International World Index has declined 4.7 per cent in the same period.

"The investors that are more attracted to the strategy we follow are managing long-term assets toward long-term goals," Mr. Gore said. "Those looking for a quick hit in the marketplace, to skim the cream and go somewhere else, those are not the investors attracted to this strategy."

© 2007 The Globe and Mail. All rights reserved.

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