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Hard Value Fund

What is an Anti-ESG Fund?

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

In recent years, ESG issues have come to the fore. Tobacco companies talk about "building a better tomorrow", coal-fired power plant operators want to provide "energy for a sustainable life" and mine operators see themselves in a "key role to play in the global transition to a low carbon economy".

At the same time, large parts of the fund industry have also repositioned themselves. Many funds promote themselves as "sustainable", meaning primarily environmental and social sustainability, not financial sustainability.

Exclusion criteria are an important pillar of the investment strategy of such funds. Investments in tobacco, cannabis, alcohol, nuclear and fossil energy, defence and mining, for example, are usually excluded entirely or to a large extent.

GLS Fonds Bank Nachhaltigkeit
© Swisscanto Holding AG, web site, dated 28/06/2023

However, with the exclusion of large parts of solid and substantial companies from the investment universe, it becomes difficult to establish a high-yield portfolio; many investment opportunities remain on the left. Therefore, with the increasing ESG focus of fund providers, investors have begun to explicitly ask for funds that do not observe ESG criteria.

In this context, so-called anti-ESG funds (also: non-ESG funds or sin funds) have become established. But what exactly are anti-ESG funds?

Definition "Anti-ESG Fund"

"Anti" means to be against or to have an opposing attitude towards a person or thing. If this is applied to funds, the following definition would be appropriate:

An anti-ESG fund is a fund whose investment strategy is designed to specifically invest in companies that are typically excluded by ESG funds (e.g. tobacco, cannabis, oil, coal, defence, gambling).

The essential feature of the anti-ESG fund (also: non-ESG fund or sin fund) is the targeted investment in anti-ESG companies. The investment strategy is regularly designed to target sectors such as tobacco, alcohol, defence and fossil energy.

Anti-ESG funds are not funds that select according to purely financial criteria, and as a result of this selection only focus on so-called anti-ESG sectors. This is because they are free in their investment strategy and can also invest in typical ESG stocks if it proves to be a sensible investment.

Anti-ESG Funds on the US Market

In the USA, the following two anti-ESG funds, among others, are offered. However, these are not available to German investors.

  • B.A.D. ETF by BAD Investments

  • Vice Fund by USA Mutuals

The B.A.D. ETF from BAD Investments is a US fund launched at the end of 2021. Its investment strategy is to track the EQM BAD Index. The index includes US companies from the sectors: Betting, Alcohol, Cannabis and Medicines (Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology). The fund's asset manager bills himself as hip: "we don't think like a typical suit and we sure as hell don't dress like one."

USA Mutual's Vice Fund is also a US fund and was initiated in mid-2021. Unlike the B.A.D. ETF, it is an actively managed fund and also has a broader investment spectrum. The Vice Fund (in German: Sündenfonds) invests globally in companies from the defence, gambling, tobacco and alcohol sectors. According to the fund, these industries have outlasted centuries due to their fundamental strengths.

Is the Hard Value Fund an Anti-ESG Fund?

The Hard Value Fund of van Grunsteyn (unit class R dist. - ISIN: DE000A3D1ZP1) (marketing communication) is a German equity fund that has set financial sustainability as its maxim. The fund invests value-free in order to continuously generate good returns and to protect investors' wealth. Value-free means that typical ESG stocks can be as important components of the portfolio as, for example, the tobacco, cannabis, defence, nuclear, fossil energy and mining sectors.

web site van Grunsteyn Anti-ESG Fund
© van Grunsteyn

Asset management uses various analytical methods to identify companies with substance, healthy cash flow and high and steady dividends. Based on these analyses, the fund currently allocates mainly to areas in which ESG funds are not allowed to invest. This is because many stocks with good valuations are currently to be found here.

Patrick Grewe, Asset Manager: "We see the main reason for the positive valuation levels of our current core areas as the investment industry's strong focus on ESG issues, which has been ongoing for many years. This has led to large capital movements away from sectors such as tobacco or defence. In fundamental terms, we don't think this is justified at all."

The Hard Value Fund is not an anti-ESG fund. This is because asset management is free to allocate independently of ESG criteria. Should the outlook deteriorate in the tobacco or defence sectors in the future, for example, the fund could reduce the weighting or no longer invest in these sectors at all.

Portfolio Hard Value Fund 27.06.2023

Legal Notices This is a marketing communication for German investors. Please read the fund's sales prospectus and basic information sheet (KID) before making a final investment decision. This also contains detailed information on opportunities and risks. The advertised investment concerns the purchase of fund units, not the purchase of specific underlying assets, such as shares or bonds of a company, as underlying assets are only owned by the fund. The sole basis for the purchase of shares in the fund are the current sales documents (basic information sheet (KID), sales prospectus, annual and semi-annual reports, if available). All information published here is for your information only and does not constitute investment advice or any other recommendation and is subject to change at any time. The sales documents and further information are available free of charge in German on the website A summary of investors' rights in German can be downloaded free of charge in electronic form from the website Consultation with an appropriate financial and tax advisor is recommended before investing in units in the Fund. The value of an investment and the amount of income may fall as well as rise as a result of market and exchange rate fluctuations. You may not get back the full amount originally invested. Past performance is no guarantee of future performance. The information published herein is based on the legal position as of the document date. This document and the information contained herein may not be distributed in the United States and distribution may be restricted in other jurisdictions. The Management Company may notify the distribution of units in the Fund in various EU or EEA member states. It should be noted that it may decide to withdraw the arrangements it has made for the distribution of units in the Fund in accordance with Article 93a of Directive 2009/65/EC. You can contact us by phone at +49 69 13 38 52 41 or write us an e-mail at All information has been provided with care according to the date of processing and partly reflects personal market opinions. No guarantee or liability can be assumed for their correctness and completeness.

Legal notice 

This article contains general information on the topic presented and no recommendations or suggestions on investments in financial instruments or issuers ("securities"). Possible specific information on individual securities, if applicable by naming them, is for illustrative purposes only and is also neither a recommendation nor a suggestion. An investment always requires a comprehensive consideration of all relevant aspects. This article does not claim to do so. Investments in securities are associated with risks. The value of an investment and returns from it can rise and fall (sometimes substantially). Investors may not get back the full amount originally invested. Past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Investments in securities may also be made for funds advertised on this website ("Fund"), but this is not mandatory. Information on positions of Fund can be obtained from the website and the relevant annual or semi-annual report, if available. The purpose of this article is to provide a rough overview of the relevant topic. No claim is made to completeness. Despite careful compilation of the information, no guarantee can be given for its correctness. We reserve the right to make changes. A purchase of shares in a fund or of securities should always be made only after one's own comprehensive analysis with recourse to various sources of information. Consultation with a financial advisor is recommended. The tax treatment of investment income depends on the personal circumstances of each investor and may be subject to change in the future. The sole basis for the acquisition of shares in a fund is the current sales documentation (sales prospectus, key investor information, annual or semi-annual report, if available). The sales documents and further information are available free of charge in German on the website

van Grunsteyn

Pursuing financial goals now

With us, you pursue financial goals. ESG investments as well as sectors such as tobacco, cannabis, nuclear, fossil energy and defence can be important components of our portfolio.
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