Erik Breen, one of the leading lights of the responsible investment world, is leaving his role at Triodos Investment Management, the €4.6bn Dutch sustainability specialist, to set up his own firm.
Breen, currently Director Impact Equities & Bonds at Triodos IM, has formed a new firm called Infinsus.
He joined Triodos IM, part of the Dutch ethical banking group, in 2014 from Dutch fund manager Robeco, where he was Head of Responsible Investing.
“Erik has been instrumental in building the department to where it stands today”
Triodos said he has successfully accomplished the task he was set and that it is time for him to “move on to a new challenge”.
He is a former chair of the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN), chair of the Framework Panel of the International Integrated Reporting Council and ex-Executive Board member and treasurer of Eumedion, the Dutch corporate governance network.
Breen was a member of the working group that developed a Dutch stewardship code in 2017. At Triodos he sits on the Management Council, a consultative body where the Management Board discuss strategic or tactical topics transcending individual business lines or functional domains.
He told Responsible Investor that he will be at Triodos IM till the end of the year.
“I have already kickstarted Infinsus now and will be working full time on this new initiative from the beginning of the new year, which is only two months away!”
He describes the new firm as “an innovative, creative and entrepreneurial consultancy that provides advisory services to enhance integration of finance and sustainability”.
“My purpose is to stimulate better informed, integrated decision-making to enhance long term outcomes and generate positive impact benefitting all stakeholders.”
He oversaw the process of insourcing the management of four SRI funds that had previously been managed by Delta Lloyd Asset Management.
A Triodos spokesperson said: “Erik joined Triodos Investment Management in 2014 with the assignment to develop a more integrated investment approach for Triodos IM’s equities and bond funds and for Triodos’ private banking accounts.“This has resulted in the decision and execution of bringing the financial asset management of these assets in-house and by doing so, enabling us to implement a more holistic and integrated sustainable and financial analysis. This process was finalised in March 2018, at which point in time a solid and experienced team of analysts, fund managers, portfolio managers and mid-office employees was in place.
“Erik has been instrumental in building the department to where it stands today by bringing in portfolio managers and analysts with a proven and solid track record and by implementing the technical infrastructure, policies and processes that allowed us to bring the financial asset management in-house.
“The department has now entered a new phase, coming from a period of transition into a phase where the integrated investment approach is fully embedded within the department. As such, Erik has successfully accomplished the task he was set out to do and it is now time for him to move on to a new challenge outside of Triodos IM.”
“With respect to his succession, we are currently looking into this, decisions on which will be made later in the year.”
International Non-Financial Reporting Standards Board?
Meanwhile, Eumedion has called for the establishment of an International Non-Financial Reporting Standards Board. It is calling for comments on a Green paper called ‘Towards a global standard setter for non-financial reporting’.
Eumedion, which represents major Dutch and international investors, says the “enduring lack of an authoritative standard setter for non-financial reporting” has led to hundreds of different frameworks – which is challenging for both investors and companies. It calls on the IFRS to be the standard setter as a second separate board next to the International Accounting Standards Board for financial reporting.
RI reported last month on how the accounting sector has started to talk of ‘International Non-financial Reporting Standards’ or “IN-FRS” and address the ESG ‘alphabet soup’ of acronyms.