This Week’s People Moves: Leading Academics Join First Sentier, MUFG Sustainable Investment Institute

ESG Investor’s weekly round-up of new hires in the sustainable investing sector, including MSCI, Redington, FTSE Russell, Fidelity and GreenWood.

Three eminent academics have joined the newly launched Sustainable Investment Institute, an initiative by First Sentier Investors and Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation. The institute aims to commission and publish high-quality research concerning sustainable investment topics, including identifying market trends and examples of best practice. Alex Edmans is a Professor of Finance at London Business School and Academic Director of the Centre for Corporate Governance. His research centres around responsible investing and behavioural finance. As an Executive Director of Sustainable Economy at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), Jake Reynolds joins the institute with prior experience pioneering the Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship Programme and working as a senior advisor to CISL’s Centre for Sustainable Finance, which provides thought leadership opportunities through collaborations with the investment, banking and insurance industries. Norichika Kanie is a Professor for the Graduate School of Media and Governance at Keio University with experience in international environmental governance research. Appointed by the UN Secretary General as one of 15 independent scientists commissioned to prepare the 2023 Global Sustainable Development report, Kanie also previously led a three-year strategic project on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals which was funded by Japan’s Ministry of Environment. The institute will appoint additional academic board members in due course. “We want to foster industry debate on critical sustainability topics and help influence more responsible investment practices. The research published by the institute will respond to […] demand. By providing this platform to work with companies and our peers, we aim to help improve sustainability outcomes,” said Takayuki Yasuda, CEO of the Asset Management and Investor Services Unit at the MUFG Trust Bank.

Index and analytics provider MSCI has appointed Tia Counts to the newly created role of Chief Diversity Officer, effective from 17 May, 2021. Counts will be responsible for operating across MSCI to align all diversity, equality and inclusion goals with business outcomes. She will report to Scott Crum, Chief Human Resources Officer at MSCI. Counts joins MSCI from JP Morgan’s Asset and Wealth Management business where she served as Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion and EMEA Head of Advancing Black Pathways. “MSCI is deeply committed to making our firm a more diverse, inclusive and equitable place for all.  In this new role, Counts will be responsible for building our brand for inclusion and diversity, helping the firm embed diversity and inclusion in the way we do business, as well as attract and retain the best diverse talent. In addition, she will be focused on increasing the impact of our internal workplace initiatives,” said Crum.

UK based independent pensions and investment consultant Redington has appointed Jill Davys to lead its offering for the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS). Davys has 30 years of experience, most recently working as Assistant Director of Investments for the West Midlands Pension Fund, in which the latter part of her role steered towards responsible investment and investment partnerships. In her role at Redington, Davys will build closer relationships with key LGPS stakeholders. She will continue to support the London Borough of Sutton Fund. “We’re seeing a steady increase in appetite from LGPS funds for innovative investment solutions, with a focus on responsible investment. Redington has spent over 15 years devising such solutions for institutional investors and, more recently, we’ve started taking these solutions into the LGPS space – our most recent project being a renewables fund of funds designed in collaboration with the London CIV. As we look to expand our presence in this market, Davys’ experience, on both the fund and client side, will be invaluable,” said Pete Drewienkiewicz, CIO of Global Assets at Redington.

The London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) has announced that Jo Saleeba has been appointed Head of Sustainable Investment for Australia and New Zealand at index business FTSE Russell. With over 25 years of experience, Saleeba will be responsible for FTSE Russell’s Sustainable Investment indices, data and analytics solutions across the Pacific region. Saleeba previously headed the responsible investment team at HESTA, developing the strategic direction of the fund’s programme, and was also previously Executive Director of the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC) having established it back in 2005. “Investors in Australia and New Zealand are increasingly prioritising sustainable investments and the transition of portfolios to low carbon sectors in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. High quality indices and data are an essential part of the investor toolkit and I look forward to working closely with FTSE Russell’s product teams to expand the offering for local investors,” Saleeba said.

Gabriel Wilson-Otto has joined Fidelity International as Director for Sustainable Investing. Based in Hong Kong, Wilson-Otto previously held the position of Global Head of Sustainability Research at BNP Paribas Asset Management. Prior to that, he was an Executive Director at Goldman Sachs. Wilson-Otto has over 15 years of experience and will report to Jenn-Hui Tan, Fidelity’s Global Head of Stewardship and Sustainable Investing. He will help to expand the firm’s sustainability-related regulatory programme and further integrate sustainability considerations into Fidelity’s investment processes.

Chris Lipton has been appointed by GreenWood Resources, a Nuveen investment specialist in forestry assets, as Head of Timberland Investment. With more than 25 years of experience working in timberland investment, Lipton will oversee a team of 200 employees across 10 countries, developing GreenWood’s future strategy for timberland development across its investment platform and operations. GreenWood manages US$1.7 billion in AUM and 741,000 acres. Prior to this appointment, Lipton worked as Managing Director for Timberland Mergers and Acquisitions at Hancock Natural Resource Group.

The practical information hub for asset owners looking to invest successfully and sustainably for the long term. As best practice evolves, we will share the news, insights and data to guide asset owners on their individual journey to ESG integration.

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