HSBC hires ex-Merrill Knight for new climate change research role as broker hiring spree continues

Rivals including Citi, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch have made recent sustainability research appointments.

Banking giant HSBC has hired Zoe Knight, former senior director of socially responsible investing (SRI) research at Merrill Lynch in London, for a new role as director of climate change strategy. The hire by HSBC adds to the recent turnaround in the recruitment of sustainability analysts at investment banks after a cull in numbers during the credit crunch as costs were cut. Rivals including Citi, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch itself have all been adding to their sustainability teams in recent months as demand for related research grows. Nick Robins, head of HSBC’s Climate Change Centre of Excellence, which bridges group sustainability and research at the bank, said Knight’s appointment reflected a rise in client requests for climate research.Knight was made redundant from Merrill Lynch after six years in 2009 when the firm cut its dedicated SRI research. Earlier this month, revealed that Merrill was resurrecting its dedicated SRI research team in London and had hired the former co-heads of French investment bank Société Générale’s sustainability team, Valéry Lucas-Leclin and Sarbjit Nahal, to run it.
After leaving Merrill, Knight joined Cheviot Asset Management before most recently taking up a position as a consultant at Absolute Strategy Research, a provider of independent investment-strategy research to institutional investors.