Clare Brook leaves WHEB to join Blue Marine Foundation

Long-time RI professional moves into charity sector.

Clare Brook, Founding Partner and Head of Business Development for the listed equities business at WHEB, the London based specialist sustainable fund manager, is leaving the firm to become Chief Financial Officer at the Blue Marine Foundation, a charity that specialises in marine conservation.
Brook, who has worked in responsible investment for 22 years, told RI she was leaving to take up a new sustainability challenge that would overlap with her investment experience in looking at new market mechanisms for conservation financing. She said this could include so-called blue bonds, a mooted version of green bonds with the aim of attracting private capital to finance a global transition to sustainable fisheries.
Brook, who finishes at the end of this week (October 31), founded the WHEB listed equities division in 2009. In 2012 the manager brought in the former Henderson SRI team that was made redundant at the end of 2011 to run its core global growth strategy, the FP WHEB Sustainability Fund, a £75m long-only equities fund investing in companies providing solutions to sustainability challenges. The team started running the fund in April 2012.
It includes former Henderson Head of SRI, George Latham, as well as portfolio manager Tim Dieppe and analyst Seb Beloe.
Latham, now Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer for WHEB’s listed equities business, said Brook would not be directly replaced in the business development role, which he said the two carried out jointly. He said the manager was hiring business development support staff with a new joiner arriving in November.Brook retains an equity stake in WHEB, which is a long-term obligation for partners in the company, and is joining the manager’s Investment Advisory Committee. WHEB, which also runs green private equity and infrastructure funds, is structured as a partnership and managed by its owners.
Brook, who has held a number of senior RI roles at UK fund managers, was a former Head of Socially Responsible Investment at Morley Fund Management (now Aviva) and established the Sustainable Future range of funds, which took in £1bn in assets in 5 years, at the turn of the century.
She has been working one day a week at Blue Marine since the beginning of the year alongside Cindy Forde its new Managing Director. The charity counts Stephen Fry, the comedian, and Simon le Bon, the Duran Duran pop star, and his wife Yasmin le Bon, among its global ambassadors. It works with NGOs to set up marine conservation and sustainable fishing zones around the world. The charity was inspired by the award-winning book and film on overfishing and marine damage, The End of the Line, by Charles Clover, the environmental journalist. Clover is the charity’s Chairman and Trustee.
Brook said: “Blue Marine is a great opportunity to be directly involved in a really important sustainability issue like fishing and marine protection and to see where market financing can be used to underpin that work.”
Latham said the FP WHEB Sustainability Fund was nearing a three-year track record under the team and had outperformed the IMA Global Equity sector benchmark of funds since Tim Dieppe took over the portfolio. He said the fund is getting increasing interest from consultants and is also one of only two listed equity funds on the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) database.