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Impact investing: Computer simulations are helping solve big problems

YOU’VE driven a car designed on a computer — but have you driven one designed by a computer?

The rising sophistication of simulation software means your next car — or at least parts of it — will have had it performance simulated and tested by computer software, says Regnan analyst Maxime Le Floch.

Engineering simulation integrated into computer-aided design software is providing important innovations across many different industries, dramatically cutting the time to create and test new designs, improving manufacturing efficiency and slashing costs and resource usage.

“We need to speed up innovation across the global economy — it is specifically something called out by UN Sustainable Development Goals nine and 12 which highlight resource efficiency and enhancing scientific research,” says Le Floch, an investment analyst with Regnan’s Global Equity Impact Solutions team.

“Simulation software helps improve efficiency in the way we use environmental resources and it’s also greatly improving innovation.”

Cloud-based simulation software has made staggering strides in recent years. Systems that once simulated a single feature of a vehicle like its reaction to wind flow can now run 1000s of tests across a wider range of physics, testing a vehicle design for safety, engine performance, fuel efficiency and more.

“Physical prototyping is expensive and it uses resources,” says Le Floch.

“In the car industry, simulation means that instead of having to build physical prototypes of cars and smash them into walls at all kinds of speeds and angles, you can instead run more simulations.

“This means you can run thousands of different simulations, changing lots of different small parts, which you wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.

“It means you also get much better products that are more optimised and more efficient, with a reduced risk of defects.”

It is not just the car industry that has latched on to simulation software — the techniques are equally well used across industries as diverse as healthcare, energy, construction and consumer products.

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Regnan Global Equity Impact Solutions Fund

And it’s not only used for new product design but also to monitor and optimise existing systems.

“A ‘digital twin’ is a 3D software model of a machine or piece of equipment or even a full factory,” says Le Floch.

“The model gets fed real time data from sensors on its real-world counterpart and can simulate and predict what might happen.

“It can be used for predictive maintenance that issues a warning ahead of a part failing and allows you to intervene.

“And you can test what might happen if you want to make a change like running a production line faster.”

Simulation supports sustainable innovation

The software is also being used extensively in the renewable energy industry, for example to simulate different wind conditions and understand how that affects the performance of the turbines, says Le Floch.

Le Floch says simulation software is providing three benefits for investors and for the planet:

  • It’s improving the performance of products in use by maximising their efficiency and reducing their downtime and energy usage.
  • It’s saving money and resources that used be consumed in the R&D process.
  • And it’s speeding up R&D and spurring innovation, which is critical to the world solving its sustainability problems.

Regnan’s Global Equity Impact Solutions Fund has a position in US-listed simulation software leader Ansys, which has a stated aim of “helping innovative companies deliver radically better products”.

“The world has a broad need to innovate to meet the SDG goals — not least in decarbonisation where we have a lot of existing technologies but there’s a need to greatly enhance innovation,” says Le Floch.


About Maxime Le Floch

Maxime is an analyst with Regnan’s impact investment team. He focuses on Regnan Global Equity Impact Solutions Fund. Maxime has more than 10 years of experience in sustainable investment. Before joining Regnan he was an investment analyst with Hermes where he helped launch and manage the Hermes Impact Opportunities Equity Fund.

About Regnan

Regnan is a responsible investment leader with a long and proud history of providing insight and advice to investors with an interest in long-term, broad-based or values-aligned performance.

Building on that expertise, in 2019 Regnan expanded into responsible investment funds management, backed by the considerable resources of Pendal Group.

The Regnan Global Equity Impact Solutions Fund invests in mission-driven companies we believe are well placed to solve the world’s biggest problems.

The Regnan Credit Impact Trust (available in Australia only) invests in cash, fixed and floating rate securities where the proceeds create positive environmental and social change. Both funds are distributed by Pendal in Australia.

Visit Regnan.com

Find out about Regnan Global Equity Impact Solutions Fund

Find out about Regnan Credit Impact Trust

For more information on these and other responsible investing strategies, contact Head of Regnan and Responsible Investment Distribution Jeremy Dean at jeremy.dean@regnan.com.


This information has been prepared by Pendal Fund Services Limited (PFSL) ABN 13 161 249 332, AFSL No 431426 and is current at August 8, 2022

PFSL is the responsible entity and issuer of units in the Regnan Global Equity Impact Solutions Fund (Fund) ARSN: 645 981 853. A product disclosure statement (PDS) is available for the Fund and can be obtained by calling 1300 346 821 or visiting www.pendalgroup.com. The Target Market Determination (TMD) for the Fund is available at www.pendalgroup.com/ddo. You should obtain and consider the PDS and the TMD before deciding whether to acquire, continue to hold or dispose of units in the Fund.

An investment in the Fund or any of the funds referred to in this web page is subject to investment risk, including possible delays in repayment of withdrawal proceeds and loss of income and principal invested.

This information is for general purposes only, should not be considered as a comprehensive statement on any matter and should not be relied upon as such. It has been prepared without taking into account any recipient’s personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this, recipients should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness having regard to their individual objectives, financial situation and needs. This information is not to be regarded as a securities recommendation.

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