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Mercer European RI head, Emma Hunt, leaves the company

Consultant in active search for new Europe RI head.

Emma Hunt, London-based principal and head of responsible investment for Europe at Mercer Investment Consulting is leaving the company. Responsible-Investor.com has learnt that the consultant has started the recruitment process to hire a replacement for Hunt to lead its responsible investment (RI) business in Europe. The position reports to Jane Ambactsheer, Mercer’s Toronto-based global head of responsible investment. A spokesman for Mercer said: “Emma Hunt will be leaving Mercer in early February. We thank her for her many contributions to the firm and wish her well in her future endeavors. An active search is currently in place to fill her role.” Hunt, a well-known figure in RI circles, joined Mercer in June 2005 after spending two years heading up the Centre for Sustainable Investment at Forum for the Future, a UK-based think tank. It is thought that she will take up a position very soon in the sustainable investment field.
The Mercer recruitment document, seen by Responsible-Investor.com, says the advisor is looking for a talented individual to further build Mercer’s European RI business strategy and support European investors in implementing the UN Principles for Responsible Investment and other RI approaches.Mercer’s 15-strong responsible investment team is by far the biggest amongst the investment consultants and the firm has been a leader in the field. In 2008, it announced that it would rate all fund managers on their strategic responses to environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns, including questioning houses on the way portfolio managers incorporate the potentially ‘material’ costs of issues such as climate change and reputation risk on human rights and social issues in their share buy and sell decisions. Last year, the Norwegian government hired Mercer to carry out a research project examining the implications of climate change on institutional investment and the strategy of the €260bn Norwegian Government Pension Fund. A survey published towards the end of 2009 by Eurosif found that 89% of consultants it polled anticipate an increase of clients’ interest in ESG matters in the next three years. Between September 2008 and September 2009, 64% said they saw increased client interest in ESG – despite the financial crisis.
A companion survey in the US came to similar conclusions. The Pensions & Investments/Social Investment Forum survey found that 56% of consultant respondents reported increasing client interest in ESG investing in the last year – with 88% predicting growing interest in the next three years.