Performance and Portfolio Update

  • The Pax MSCI EAFE ESG Leaders Index Fund (PXNIX)1 underperformed the MSCI EAFE Index (EAFE Index) in the fourth quarter but outperformed the Index for the calendar year 2020.
  • During the quarter, international equity markets rapidly increased on positive vaccine news, producing a return of 16.05% for the EAFE Index, its best quarterly return over the last five years. Most of the Fund’s underperformance can be attributed to the Fund’s lower risk and higher sustainability profile. High beta stocks dominated market performance on expectations of a fuller reopening of the economy, which created a headwind for the Fund given its higher quality orientation. Also, several market segments with high sustainability risk, which had been disproportionally impacted by COVID-19, produced strong results following the announcement of Pfizer’s vaccine.
  • The Fund’s stronger ESG profile relative to the EAFE Index detracted from performance during the fourth quarter. A chart showing performance attribution by ESG ratings over the trailing three months and since the Fund’s inception is available below. While the Fund’s overweight toward the highest-rated ESG companies detracted from performance during the quarter, this overweight has contributed the most to relative return over the longer term since inception period.2
  • No allocation to the Energy sector, which is a byproduct of the Fund’s SmartCarbonTM approach, detracted from performance during the quarter. However, for the period since SmartCarbon was integrated into the Fund, this approach has added 4.03% of relative return compared to the EAFE Index (15-month period: 9/30/19 – 12/31/20). Over that period both aspects of the approach have benefited performance, an overweight toward energy efficiency companies and no exposure to the Energy sector.
  • Detracting from performance during the quarter included holdings in Industrials, Information Technology and Materials. Notably, avoiding companies that manufacture weapons, along with the Fund’s lower allocation to the Metals & Mining industry, hurt performance as those areas of the market performed strongly.
  • Conversely, the Real Estate sector added the most to relative results during the quarter, led by strong results from REITs and Real Estate Management & Development companies. Also, the Financials sector had a strong rebound during the fourth quarter and several Fund holdings within Insurance, Diversified Financial Services and Banks outperformed.

Performance

(as of 12/31/20)
1-MonthQuarterYTD1 Year3 Year5 Year10 YearSince Inception3
Pax MSCI EAFE ESG Leaders Index Fund - Investor Class5.0514.76
10.5110.515.617.30-5.41
Pax MSCI EAFE ESG Leaders Index Fund - Institutional Class5.0714.8710.7810.785.867.56-5.67
MSCI EAFE ESG Leaders (Net) Index4.4715.1410.4510.455.807.78-6.07
MSCI EAFE (Net) Index4.6516.057.827.824.287.45-5.18
Lipper International Large-Cap Core Funds Index5.6617.845.045.042.326.64-4.36

Performance data quoted represent past performance, which does not guarantee future results. Investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance data quoted. For most recent month-end performance information, call 800.767.1729 or visit impaxam.com

Figures include reinvested dividends, capital gains distributions and changes in principal value.

3The inception date for the Pax MSCI EAFE ESG Leaders Index Fund Institutional Class is January 27, 2011, and the Investor Class inception date is March 31, 2014.

As of 5/1/20 prospectus, total annual Pax MSCI EAFE ESG Leaders Index Fund operating expenses, gross of any fee waivers or reimbursements, for Investor Class and Institutional Class shares are 0.74% and 0.49%, respectively.

Performance Attribution


ESG Ratings

(9/30/20 - 12/31/20)
Average Active Weights (%)
3-month Relative Contribution (%)Since Inception 1/27/11
Relative Contribution (%)

XOther: ETFs (for short-term cash mgmt. purposes) and Cash & Equivalents.
Past performance does not guarantee future results. Short-term performance may not be indicative of long-term results.

Portfolio Characteristics

(as of 12/31/20)
FundBenchmark
Market Cap (weighted avg.)$66,626M$71,383M
Forward Price/Earnings20.3619.88
ROE15.1613.43
Beta
0.961.00
Number of Securities301875



1The minimum investment needed for investment in PXNIX is $250,000.

2MSCI ESG Research evaluates companies’ ESG characteristics and derives corresponding ESG scores and ratings. Companies are ranked by ESG score against their sector peers to determine their eligibility for the MSCI ESG indices. MSCI ESG Research identifies the highest-rated companies in each peer group to meet the float-adjusted market capitalization sector targets. The rating system is based on general and industry-specific ESG criteria, assigning ratings on a seven-point scale from AAA (highest) to CCC (lowest).

Top 10 Holdings

(as of 12/31/20)
Roche Holding, Ltd. 3.1%, ASML Holding NV 3.0%, SAP SE 1.9%, Unilever PLC 1.9%, Siemens AG 1.6%, Sony Corp. 1.6%, Commonwealth Bank of Australia 1.5%, Keyence Corp. 1.4%, Novo Nordisk A/S, Class B 1.4% and L’Oreal SA 1.2%. Holdings are subject to change.

Definitions

Forward Price-Earnings Ratio or P/E FY1 ratio is a ratio for valuing a company that measures its current share price relative to its per-share earnings over the next 12 months.
Return on equity (ROE) is a ratio that provides investors’ insight into how efficiently a company (or, more specifically, its management team) is managing the equity that shareholders have contributed to the company.
A historical Beta is used for funds with greater than two years of performance history under the same mandate. 5 Year, Beta is used. Beta reflects the sensitivity of a fund’s return to fluctuations in its benchmark; a beta for a benchmark is 1.00: A beta greater than 1.00 indicates above-average volatility and risk.

The statements and opinions expressed are those of the author as of the date of this report. All information is historical and not indicative of future results and subject to change. This information is not a recommendation to buy or sell any security. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

IMPX0050 (4/21)

Scott LaBreche

Vice President & Portfolio Manager

Scott LaBreche is Vice President and Portfolio Manager at Impax Asset Management LLC, the North American division of Impax Asset Management Group and investment adviser to Pax World Funds.

Scott is a Portfolio Manager of the Global Women’s Leadership Strategy, which includes the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Leadership Fund. He is also a Portfolio Manager of the Pax International Sustainable Economy Fund, the Pax Global Sustainable Infrastructure Fund and the Pax U.S. Sustainable Economy Fund.

He is responsible for portfolio management of systematic strategies, portfolio analytics and risk oversight, and quantitative ESG research.

Before joining Impax in 2007, Scott was a Securities Fund Analyst at Lincoln Financial Group. He has been in the investment management industry since 1999.

Scott holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration and a Master of Business Administration with advanced certificate in finance from Southern New Hampshire University.

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