This Week’s People Moves: Robeco Strengthens Sustainable Themes Investment Teams

ESG Investor’s weekly round-up of new hires in the sustainable investing sector, including Robeco, Rathbone Greenbank, Willis Towers Watson, MSCI, MUFG Sustainable Investment Institute and Brown Advisory.

Rotterdam-headquartered asset manager Robeco has appointed nine investment professionals to its Sustainable Themes investment teams in Zurich. The new hires will be joining the firm over the coming months, strengthening Robeco’s sustainable research and strategies. Experienced thematic investment manager Roman Boner joins as lead Portfolio Manager of the RobecoSAM Smart Energy strategy. Pieter Busscher will move into the role of lead Portfolio Manager of the RobecoSAM Smart Mobility strategy, having previously served as Deputy Portfolio Manager since 2018. The firm is also fleshing out its analyst teams, with Michael Studer joining as both Deputy Portfolio Manager for the Smart Energy strategy and Senior Equity Analyst, focusing on technology. Mutlu Gundogan and Clément Chamboulive have both been appointed as Senior Analysts, focusing on the chemicals sector and technology sector respectively. On the equity side, Alyssa Cornuz, Simon Pozzi and Diego Salvador Barrero join as equity analysts. Cornuz will focus on the RobecoSAM Sustainable Healthy Living Equities strategy, Pozzi on industrial automation and process technologies and Salvador Barrero on energy distribution and renewables. Sanaa Hakim has been appointed as Senior Equity Analyst for energy efficiency and renewables. “Our trends and thematic investment offering has seen strong growth, and our dedication, ambition and commitment allows us to attract the best world-class professionals. The capability is now stronger than ever before and we will keep adding investment professionals to further strengthen our teams in order to help achieving our clients’ financial and sustainability goals,” said Mark van der Kroft, CIO for Fundamental and Quant Equity at Robeco.

Rathbone Greenbank Investments has strengthened its specialist sustainable investment team by appointing Craig Leslie as Investment Director. Based in Rathbone’s Edinburgh office, Leslie will focus on the management of portfolios private clients, trusts and charities. Prior to his appointment, Leslie worked as Senior Investment Manager for Brown Shipley Private Bank. Joe Crehan has also been promoted to Investment Manager, strengthening the firm’s environmental, social and impact (ESI) team. “Greenbank is one of the longest standing pioneers in ethical investing. There is a huge focus for us all to make real change in the world we live in, and investors are instrumental to making this happen. Greenbank’s holistic approach to ESI integration will equip me with the means necessary to help frontier responsible finance and I look forward to helping raise the profile of Greenbank in Scotland,” said Leslie.

Monique Mathys-Graaff has been awarded the newly-established role of Senior Sustainable Investment Strategist at Willis Towers Watson (WTW). With around 20 years of experience in sustainability-focused roles within asset management, investment banking and corporates, Mathys-Graaff will work with WTW’s investment and client teams to further integrate sustainability into its investment processes and client portfolios. “Sustainability is the central theme in investment markets today and will only grow in prominence in years to come. Asset owners are grappling with how to deal with the challenges and opportunities and we make no secret of the fact that we want to be a market leader in sustainable investment. We’re very excited to welcome Mathys-Graaff and her expertise in implementing sustainable strategies,” said Mark Calnan, WTW’s Head of Investments for EMEA.

Index and data provider MSCI has appointed Melissa McDonald as Global Head of ESG and Climate Indexes. Based in London, McDonald is tasked with driving the global growth of MSCI’s ESG and climate indexes, collaborating with global product, client coverage, research and technology teams. She previously served as Global Head of Product, Equities and Responsible Investment at HSBC Global Asset Management and held various senior leadership roles at AXA Investment Management. “We are in dire straits due to climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic and social inequalities. I am thrilled to be joining an innovative, vibrant, and market-leading firm like MSCI, which is uniquely positioned to support investors with their capital allocation decisions and the transition to a low-carbon world and a better future for all. I look forward to using my experience and energy to drive a positive impact in this new role,” said McDonald.

Velina Karadzhova has joined global investment manager First Sentier Investors from MSCI to lead the firm’s recently-launched MUFG Sustainable Investment Institute. Karadzhova will be responsible for developing the institute’s research programme, including macro-level research on sustainability-related market trends and industry practices. These studies will consider how sustainable developments will affect the performance of companies, sectors and economies and their influence on investor capital allocation. “Karadzhova’s considerable experience in the fields of ESG-related research will be invaluable in this new role to lead and further develop the institute’s sustainable investment research programme. The reports will promote critical, urgent and under-reported sustainability issues, while outlining actions the industry and broader society can take to help address these problems,” said Will Oulton, Global Head of Responsible Investment at First Sentier Investors and Chair of the institute.

Privately-held global investment management firm Brown Advisory has expanded its global sustainable fixed income team in London. The new team will launch its first strategy later this year and will be managed by Ryan Myerberg in London and Chris Diaz and Colby Stilson in the US. The trio joined Brown Advisory earlier this year, having previously worked together at Janus Capital. Joining from her prior role as Senior Consultant at Aon, Anna Rudgard joins the team its Fixed Income ESG Analyst. “Brown Advisory has a strong reputation for sustainable investing and this is an exciting time for our expanding Global Sustainable Fixed Income team. In a macroeconomic environment that is challenging investors with inflationary headwinds, shifting monetary policy and rich valuations for risk assets, our sustainable investing principles and process are well-aligned with long-term performance durability, offering a compelling fixed income option for clients seeking quality, flexibility and global diversification in their portfolios,” said Myerberg.

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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