HSBC hires Henderson SRI head for global eco research hub

Bangalore-based research team will gauge climate change risks and opportunities

HSBC, the UK banking group, is building what it says is the first global research centre into climate change for business decisions taken across an entire financial services group. It has hired Nick Robins, head of socially responsible investment at Henderson Global Investors, the UK fund manager, to lead the initiative. The bank said the centre would give it greater understanding of the scientific, regulatory and economic dimensions of climate change and identify relevant business opportunities for the bank and its clients in asset management, retail and investment banking.
HSBC has committed significant resources to climate change issues. In July, it hired Sir Nicholas Stern, former World Bank chief economist and author of the recent high-profile report on global warming commissioned by the UK government, as special adviser to the group chairman on economic development and climate change.
It has also formed a $100m (€73m) partnership with groups including the Earthwatch Institute and WWF to lobby governments and legislators on the issue.
Banking groups are scrambling to integrate climate change into their business operations, particularly in investment banking research. US banks Citi and JP Morgan and Dutch bank, ABN Amro, have created dedicated cimate change teams.In March, Lehman Brothers announced the creation of a global council on climate change led by Theodore Roosevelt IV, a great grandson of former US president Theodore Roosevelt, to sponsor summits in Europe, Asia, and the US.
Robins takes up his new post at HSBC in October and will lead the climate change centre from London. The majority of the centre’s research specialists will be based in Bangalore, India.
Robins will report to David Burnett, HSBC head of global research and Jon Williams, head of group sustainable development.
Burnett said: “Nick’s appointment as a dedicated specialist in this field allows us to add real value to our research capability. It will establish HSBC as a leading voice on identifying economic opportunities associated with a lower carbon economy for the benefit of the group’s clients and for the group’s own businesses.”
Henderson Global Investors has promoted George Latham to head of socially responsible investment funds to replace Robins. Latham joined Henderson in 2001 and became associate director for socially responsible investment funds in 2004. He will continue to manage Henderson’s £130.5m (€190.4m) Global Care UK Income Fund and its £486m Global Care Managed Fund.