RobecoSAM CEO Baldinger joins board at Karp’s Cornerstone Capital

Appointment comes as boutique prepares to offer asset management

Michael Baldinger, CEO of sustainable investment firm RobecoSAM, has been named to the Board of Directors of Cornerstone Capital Inc., the New York-based advisory firm started last August by Erika Karp, the former Head of Global Sector Research at UBS’ investment bank who is a leading advocate of sustainable finance.

Baldinger’s appointment comes as Cornerstone prepares to offer wealth management and investment banking services. Until now, Cornerstone has been focused on providing advice to investors and companies on how to integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into their business. According to the firm, it already is advising “dozens of clients” regarding ESG integration.

A spokesman for RobecoSAM, said in any case that an alliance between his firm and Cornerstone was not planned. “The appointment is more on the personal level. Ms Karp and Mr Baldinger became acquainted when Mr Baldinger worked in New York,” he said.

“This is an exciting time for our company. Michael Baldinger brings extraordinary business expertise from running large enterprises and will add valuable perspective to our firm,” Karp said in a statement. Baldinger added: “My past and present roles shall contribute to help bridge mainstream capital markets to the disciplines of sustainable investing and finance.”

Zurich-based RobecoSAM has around $11.8bn in assets under management, advice and/or license, along with some $69bn under engagement and $45.6bn under voting.Before joining RobecoSAM, Baldinger was Head of Distribution in the Americas for Credit Suisse Asset Management (CSAM) in New York. Prior to that, Baldinger worked for the now-defunct Bear Stearns as a Managing Director for equity sales.

Along with Baldinger, Cornerstone named Eric-Vincent Guichard to its Board, which will now comprise 12 members. Guichard is Chairman and CEO of Gravitas Capital Advisors, an asset management boutique based in Washington. Guichard also worked at the World Bank as a portfolio manager.

The other members of Cornerstone’s Board include the Chairman Derek Yach, who is also a Senior Vice President of health and wellness provider Vitality Group; Andrew MacLeod, a former Communications and External Relations Manager at mining firm Rio Tinto; Cheryl Smith, Chief Economist at SRI investor Trillium Asset Management; and Matthew Swibel, Director of Sustainability Strategy at US defence firm Lockheed Martin.

Baldinger is the latest senior industry figure to link with Cornerstone.

Among advisors to the firm are Harvard’s Robert Eccles, Philipp Aeby (RepRisk), Barbara Brown (BrownFlynn), Kimberly Gladman (Just Capital), Andy Howard (ex-Goldman Sachs, now Didas Research), James Hulse (CDP), Sir David King (UK Special Representative for Climate Change), Karina Litvack (ex-F&C), Michael Muyot (CRD Analytics), Howard Sherman (GMI Ratings) and Mark Tulay (Global Initiative for Sustainability Ratings).