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Active asset managers have an important role to play in holding corporate management to account.

Ana Victoria Quaas, ESG Analyst at Fidelity International talks to Responsible Investor about how she got into ESG and her career to date.

Tell us a bit about your current role and the company you work at?

I am an analyst within Fidelity International’s Sustainable Investing Team. I work with Fidelity International’s research analysts and portfolio managers across the asset classes to raise awareness of ESG and implement sustainability practices into our investment process. The Sustainable Investing Team is also responsible for leading engagements with investee companies on ESG issues together with our investment team. 

Client interaction makes up an important part of my role through engaging with clients on Fidelity’s ESG strategy and investment-relevant sustainability issues.

Lastly, at Fidelity we like to collaborate with the wider industry to tackle wider ESG issues and encourage open debate, so I also spend my time participating in ESG-related associations, industry conferences and events.

What does a typical working week look like for you? What do you do on a daily basis?

Every day and every week is different and the work I do is always varied. For example, some days I am more focussed on what we can do to educate and raise visibility of our sustainable investing approach to clients, while other days I am focussed on working with our investment management team on looking at how we can enhance our approach.

Have you always worked in RI/ESG? Tell us about your career path.

I have focused on sustainable investing for almost a decade now, largely on the distribution/marketing side and across many different geographies – I have worked in the United States, Germany, Switzerland, the UK and now the Netherlands.

I started off my career as an equity research analyst, but then gradually transitioned over to marketing. However, despite many years working within marketing, I have always been an analyst at heart. So when the opportunity came at Fidelity to transition marketing back to an analyst – but maintaining my ESG focus – it seemed like the natural next step to my career. 

What differences do you see, if any, between Sustainable finance/investments and conventional? 

I believe sustainable investing is investing 2.0. Every investment decision we make has consequences for client portfolios and for society. Active asset managers have an important role to play in holding corporate management to account. As we face some of the largest environmental and social issues the world has ever seen, we need to understand the impact these can potentially have both financially and for society and help drive positive change. 

If you knew what you know now what would you have done differently when you started your career. What advice do you wish you’d been given when you started out?

In all honesty, looking back I am not sure I would have done anything fundamentally different. I was able to gain a variety of different skills throughout my career, which have helped me get to where I am now. The only two things I would have liked to have done even more is ask more questions and work with more the fixed income and real estate investment teams, as I do now. I think some people perceive both fixed income and real estate as less engaged or important in shaping a sustainable future, I would disagree.  

What advice would you give to someone starting out today?

Be really curious, volunteer (if possible) for projects that stretch you and make sure you build your network. This may seem like obvious advice but I have found that many graduates I have met are worried about approaching more senior people in the organisation to ask for advice or to volunteer for projects where they do not yet have the full skill set. While experience is an important thing, curiosity and willingness to get stuck in is also important. If you volunteer you may not get the lead on a certain project, due to lack of experience, but if you can prove your willingness to learn and work hard you will show how you can add value and certainly walk away with knowledge and possibly champions, who will help shape your future career.   

CV at a glance:

  • Fidelity International: 
    • ESG Analyst, 2020 – Present 
    • Director of Institutional Marketing Continental Europe, 2017-2019
  • MFS Investment Management: Director of Marketing, 2015-2017 
  • RobecoSAM, Marketing (Various Roles), 2012-2015 
  • Vontobel Asset Management & Harcourt (Part of Vontobel Asset Management): Investment Communications & Marketing, 2009-2012 
  • Columbia Threadneedle Investments, Investment Communications, 2008 – 2009 
  • Dresdner Bank AG (now Commerzbank): Research Analyst, 2006 –2008

To access other interviews and Sustainable Finance Careers Report follow the link: esg-data.com/careers