BNP Paribas head of SRI leaves as firm consolidates to Paris HQ

Former Fortis Investments staff peel off as Frankfurt office winds down.

The SRI division of France’s BNP Paribas Investment Partners has parted company with senior staff it took on following last year’s merger with Fortis Investments, including Stewart Armer, head of SRI, and portfolio manager for the firm’s Sustainable Equity World fund.
Armer, former head of SRI at Fortis Investments prior to the BNP merger, lead a 13-strong dedicated SRI team running more than €2bn in assets at BNP Paribas out of Paris and Frankfurt. He left the company recently. It is not known whether Armer has taken a new position elsewhere. The French manager is centralising its SRI team in Paris under BNP Paribas Asset Management, transferring some of its former Frankfurt employees to France. It will continue to run the Asian arm of its SRI team out of Hong Kong.
A spokesperson for BNP Paribas Asset Management (BNPP AM) said Armer had left in order to develop projects outside the company. Armer ran a number of global and Asian sustainable equity investment products for BNP. The spokesperson said: “We have decided to gather all the SRI equity management expertise of BNPP AM (i.e. best in class and thematics) and the SRI researchdedicated to the different investment centres under one roof.” BNP Paribas Investment Partners is the overall asset management business of the French bank, which includes BNP Paribas Asset Management and a number of other specialist investment arms.
The French manager has named Gaëtan Obert as its new head of SRI investments. Obert joined BNPP AM as a European equity senior portfolio manager in June 2007 and BNP said he has an established track record in SRI ’best in class’ and high dividend strategies. Erik Borremans remains as head of sustainable and responsible investments
at BNP Paribas Asset Management.
Another departure, Florian Sommer, former head of global SRI research at BNP Paribas Investment Partners, has already resurfaced at Union Investment in Germany as a senior strategist with a brief to develop the SRI capabilities of Union across different asset classes and focus on thematic SRI equity strategies. It is understood that at least one other member of the ex-Fortis SRI team in Frankfurt has left BNP Paribas.