ESG Movers and Shakers – European Edition December 2021
Mirroring client’s demands for ESG products, our company has seen an increasing amount of hiring activity in the sector.
We are pleased to share a limited selection (ie that which is in the public domain) of our research within Europe via our monthly ESG digest.
Please contact Chris Manfield for more information about our ESG offering. We are naturally, unable to share client or candidate specific information.
ESG Movers and Shakers – European Edition
- Isio – Cadi Thomas has been promoted to Head of ESG Research, and will be driving the team’s agenda for sustainable investing. Andrew Singh will meanwhile become Head of the Real Assets team, covering a broad array of sub-asset classes including property, infrastructure and natural capital. Tom Wilson has been promoted to Head of Credit Research covering both public and private credit markets.
- Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) – The European investor network appointed six new members to its board following its 2021 AGM. Bruce Duguid, Head of Stewardship, EOS at Federated Hermes, Claudia Kruse, Managing Director – Global Responsible Investment & Governance, APG Asset Management, Graham Cook, Chief Investment Officer, Environment Agency Pension Fund, and Kelly Christodoulou, Listed ESG & Stewardship Manager at AustralianSuper, were all elected to the board at the AGM, which took place on 1 December. Existing board member Jon Johnsen, CEO of PKA, has also been confirmed as Vice Chair. Adam Matthews, Chief Responsible Investment Officer, Church of England Pensions Board, was also re-elected. In addition, Caroline Le Meaux, Head of ESG Research, Engagement and Voting, Amundi and Sandy Boss, Global Head of Investment Stewardship, BlackRock were also co-opted to serve on the board.
- Moody’s ESG Solutions Group has appointed Julia Haake as Managing Director for Market Strategy. In this newly-established role, Haake will be responsible for shaping and articulating Moody’s commercial sustainability and ESG strategy impact.
- Man GLG, the investment arm of Man Group, has appointed Yohann Terry and Jann Breitenmoser as Portfolio Managers in the firm’s equity team. With 15 years’ investment experience, Terry will run the responsible investment strategy focused on water and the circular economy. He will be based in Man’s Pfäffikon, Switzerland office and will report directly to Man GLG CEO Teun Johnston.
- Insight Investment, a global asset manager owned by BNY Mellon, has appointed a portfolio manager focused on ESG portfolios and a senior stewardship analyst to its Fixed Income Group. Fabien Collado joined as ESG Portfolio Manager having previously managed ESG-integrated portfolios for AXA Investment Managers, will manage ESG mandates and impact strategies. Rhona Cormack joined as Senior Stewardship Analyst to support Insight’s engagement programme. She works alongside credit analysts and is part of Insight’s responsible investment team.
- Swisscanto has launched the Swisscanto (LU) Equity Fund Sustainable Europe. The fund invests in European equity and uses a sustainable impact approach, the statement said. The fund will focus on European companies that can be expected to achieve above-average corporate growth due to the positive contributions of their products and services to social and environmental problems. The fund is benchmarked to the MSCI Europe TR Net index. The strategy is registered for sale in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Italy and Germany.
- Zurich AM – CEO Philipp Good announced the launch of a new asset manager in April, called ESG AM. He revealed that it has now been approved as a manager of collective investment schemes by Finma. In addition, the firm is planning to launch three strategies, one of which will be managed by new hire Robert Koch. The three strategies have applied for approval as funds in Luxembourg with its regulator. They focus on specific elements of ESG, as Good believes that if a strategy tries to target too many goals at once, it will not be able to make a genuine impact in any of them.
- Schroders has launched a ‘global climate leaders’ fund in a bid to further strengthen its focus on sustainability, the firm has announced. The Schroder ISF Global Climate Leaders fund, which is run by Citywire AAA-rated Simon Webber and portfolio manager Isabella Hervey-Bathurst, sits within the firm’s thematic global transformation range. It aims to provide investors with exposure to climate change leader companies with long-term climate ambitions and effective near-term targets. The Global Climate Leaders fund is unconstrained and aims to allocate 50-80 stocks spanning all geographies and sectors. The fund is classified under the EU Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation as Article 8 and leverages the climate investing expertise of Schroders Global Climate Change team. It will follow the same investment strategy of the Schroder ISF Global Climate Change fund, launched in 2007.
- Schroders is reportedly looking to splash £360m on a renewable energy investment group amid the global transition to net zero. The asset manager is looking to buy a controlling stake of Greencoat Capital, a 75 per cent share, which would significantly strengthen Schroders’ green offering, Greencoat, which has around £6bn under management and recently branched into the US market, will join Schroders lofty £717bn in management assets if the deal goes ahead.
- UBS Asset Management (UBS AM) appointed Lucy Thomas as Head of Sustainable Investing. In this role, Thomas will be responsible for leading the delivery of UBS AM’s sustainability and impact strategy; and will report to Barry Gill, Head of Investments for UBS AM. She will be based in Zurich.
- Yo Takatsuki has been appointed Global Head of Investment Stewardship in a newly created role at JP Morgan Asset Management (JPM AM). Takatsuki will continue to lead JPM AM’s investment stewardship efforts in EMEA, including proxy voting, corporate engagement, and stewardship reporting. Effective 1 December 2021, these responsibilities will now extend to North America and Asia Pacific, with Takatsuki overseeing the global coordination of JPM AM’s regional investment stewardship practices. He will continue to report to Jennifer Wu, JPM AM’s Global Head of Sustainable Investing, based in London.
- Blue Horizon has appointed Manu Gupta to its Board of Directors. Gupta’s appointment followed other hires including a General Counsel, a new Partner, as well as two Directors to the investment team.
- Janus Henderson Investors made six new appointments to its ESG Investment Team, led by Paul LaCoursiere, Global Head of ESG Investments. In London, Dan Raghoonundon, ESG Research Lead; Charles Devereux, ESG Research Analyst; Olivia Jones, Junior ESG Research Analyst; Jesse Verheijen, ESG Data Analyst; and Bhaskar Sastry, ESG Content Manager will join; while in Denver, Blake Bennett joins as Governance and Stewardship Analyst. These new external appointees come in addition to recent internal moves; in June Adrienn Sarandi moved from an ESG role in the Fixed Income Team, to take up the newly created role as Head of ESG Strategy and Development. Meanwhile, Xiaoyi Luo joined as an ESG Research Analyst; while Charlotte Nisbet became an ESG Research Analyst, having previously worked in a similar role internally.
- Invesco has launched a suite of ETFs combining ESG criteria with Paris aligned climate objectives. They will track MSCI indices that aim to reduce exposure to physical climate risks while simultaneously pursuing opportunities arising from the transition to a low-carbon economy and aligning with the Paris Agreement’s temperature goals. Each index also implements a broad set of exclusions. The ETFs will be invested physically in the securities of the respective MSCI indices and Invesco will be exercising its proxy voting rights, guided by the firm’s ESG team as it engages with investee companies on ESG-related issues. Offering a choice of exposure to the USA, Europe, Japan and world equity markets, the firm also plans to add emerging markets to the range in due course.
- For investors looking to achieve sustainable returns, Vanguard is now offering four sustainable actively-managed funds with its Vanguard SustainableLife range. The SustainableLife 60-70% Equity, 80-90% Equity and 80-90% Equity funds invest in equities and bonds globally, managed by Wellington Management. They will follow four sustainability principles: a commitment to net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050; exclusion of companies that may have a negative impact on society and the environment; engage with portfolio companies on key ESG issues; and require companies to follow good governance practices as a precondition for investment. The fourth fund launched by Vanguard is the Global Sustainable Equity Fund, also to be managed by Wellington, which will incorporate sustainable investment criteria to align with investor values and reduce exposure to ESG-related risks.
- WisdomTree has expanded its Thematics UCITS range with the BioRevolution ETF. The fund will track the WisdomTree BioRevolution ESG Screen Index, offering investors access to firms associated with BioRevolution activities through investment in publicly-listed companies. These companies are expected to help transform and advance genetics and biotechnology and must meet WisdomTree’s ESG criteria.
- Stewart Investors’ Sustainable Funds Group (SFG), an active equity specialist, has launched a Global Emerging Markets (GEM) Leaders Sustainability Fund for UK-based investors. It will invest in mid- to large-cap companies that are considered to be well-positioned to contribute to sustainable development while delivering long-term capital growth.
- Orestes Ethical Equity has appointed Sustainable Capital, a bond issuance platform, and Bedford Row Capital, a global non-bank structuring specialist, to launch an ethical equity portfolio with a £50 million AUM target. It will invest in equities of companies that are listed, quoted or traded on global markets across currencies and industry sectors. Orestes aims to locate long-term sustainable growth prospects that contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Prospective investments will be assessed on their degree of ethicality according to negative screening criteria and will need to achieve a required score from a proprietary assessment tool. The pre-trade screening will be carried out by ethical advisory firm Yasaar Limited
- Telecom company Orange has launched a carbon fund to finance reforestation and ecological restoration projects. Launched with asset manager Mirova, the €50 million Orange Nature Fund furthers the company’s net zero by 2040 environmental strategy by investing in carbon sequestration projects around the world. Investment decisions will also account for the economic and social development of the regions and populations affected by the projects, as well as the positive impacts they may have on the region’s biodiversity
- UK Climate Investments has committed £15 million of additional funding to support the Revego Fund Managers Africa Energy portoflio’s long-term growth and aims to further mobilise private finance flows in support of South Africa’s clean energy transition. Revego aims to help build a new ecosystem for clean electricity generation by acquiring equity in operational renewable energy projects. Earlier this year, alongside Investec Bank, Eskom Pension and Provident Fund, UK Climate Investments initially committed £25 million to establish Africa’s first dedicated renewable energy yieldco, managed by Revego. The additional funding will help Revego scale its growth. UK Climate Investments is a joint venture between Macquarie’s Green Investment Group and the UK government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
- Independent specialist asset manager Unigestion has launched an Academic Advisory Board. The Board, which comprises leading members of the financial academic community together with senior investment professionals at Unigestion, is led by Professor Beatrice Weder di Mauro, Professor of International Economics at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva and President of the Centre for Economic Policy Research, and a Non-executive Director of Unigestion. Fiona Frick, Chief Executive Officer at Unigestion, will act as Vice Chairman of the Academic Advisory Board.
- The first independent external members are Patrick Bolton, Professor of Finance and economics at Imperial College and Columbia University, and Rüdiger Fahlenbrach, Professor of Finance at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). Emmanuel Jurczenko, Professor of Finance at EDHEC and an academic consultant to Unigestion, together with Jerome Teiletche, Head of Cross Asset Solutions – who leads the global coordination of research at Unigestion – will also be permanent members of the Board. Other Unigestion employees will be invited to participate depending on the topics discussed by the Board.
- Janus Henderson Investors hired six staff for its ESG team led by Paul LaCoursiere. This includes Dan Raghoonundon, who will become ESG research lead. He rejoins the firm after concluding a three-year PhD in finance at the Rotterdam School of Management. In addition, Charles Devereux, who previously worked at Aviva Investors, and Olivia Jones, who joins from ESG sustainability and climate consultancy Kukua, have started as ESG research analysts.
- Another Aviva Investors hire is Jesse Verheijen, who starts at Janus Henderson as an ESG data analyst. He will work closely with the head of ESG strategy and development and investment teams across asset classes to further integrate ESG data, research, analysis and stewardship into the firm’s investment processes. The company has also hired Bhaskar Sastry as ESG content manager from State Street Global Advisors, where he has worked since 2019 in a similar role. He will focus on creating and managing content on the firm’s ESG approach.
- UBS Asset Management has hired Lucy Thomas as head of sustainable investing, the firm has announced. She will be responsible for developing the company’s sustainability and impact strategy. As part of her role Thomas will report to Barry Gill, head of investments for UBS AM.
- Lombard Odier Group has taken a stake in risk capital company Systemiq, the firm has announced.The group has been a client of Systemiq for two years, building out sustainability transition roadmaps for industries. It has also used the company as an independent evaluator for the sustainable methodologies it is developing in-house. The investment will allow Lombard Odier to use Systemiq to verify and optimise its sustainable investment offering for clients.
- The private equity arm of Edmond de Rothschild (EdR) is partnering with agri-food-tech fund management company PeakBridge. The companies are launching a strategy investing in agri-food-tech startups in the growth stage. The initial target is €250m in assets under management, but this may grow in the future, a statement from EdR said. The firms aim to select companies disrupting food and agriculture systems around the world.