Tim Verheyden, Head of Research at Arabesque Asset Management, who headed the firm’s proprietary S-Ray ESG data platform, has quit the firm to join Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM) where he will work on the incorporation of ESG signals within the group’s equity strategies.
A company spokesperson confirmed Verheyden’s departure but did not say if he has been replaced. However, the London-based sustainability investment start-up said it would shortly announce a number of senior-level hires as part of a “global expansion plan”.
Verheyden first joined Arabesque as an Associate Researcher in 2015 and was named S-Ray head two years later according to LinkedIn. He joins GSAM as an Executive Director within its Quantitative Investment Strategies department, a Goldman spokesperson confirmed.
S-Ray says it monitors ESG related factors of over 7,000 companies using “machine learning and big data”, covering over 200 ESG metrics. Its users include Japan’s $1.4trn Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), State Street and Swedish national pension fund Första AP-fonden (AP1).
In July, Arabesque S-Ray secured $20m (€17.8m) worth of equity financing from the German State of Hessen, Allianz X (an investment arm of Allianz) Commerzbank’s Commerz Real and DWS.Verheyden is credited with co-authoring a 2016 paper on the positive relationship between investment returns and ESG factors together with Bob Eccles, currently a Visiting Professor at Oxford University and a former chair of Arabesque, and Arabesque S-Ray CEO Andreas Feiner.
Eccles resigned his post in 2017 as Arabesque moved into data, citing a potential conflict of interest with his role on the board of TruValue Labs, another sustainability research company.
Arabesque counts among its board members Chair Georg Kell, founding Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, John Ruggie, Professor of Human Rights and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Barbara Krumsiek, former President and CEO of Calvert Investments.
In September, RI reported that peer ESG research companies, MSCI, Sustainalytics and RepRisk had all ended research contracts with Arabesque over concerns that S-Ray was being run as a competing research business, alongside the investment funds or research data comparison for which they sold it information.