Lombard Odier takes stake in Polman-backed ESG investment advisor SYSTEMIQ

Move by Swiss banking group follows SoftBank’s investment in sustainability start-up Clarity AI

Swiss financial group Lombard Odier has taken a stake in sustainability-focused consultancy and investment firm SYSTEMIQ for an undisclosed sum.  

It is the first banking group to buy into the London-based firm, which was set up by two former McKinsey veterans, and whose board is chaired by the high-profile climate economist Lord Nicholas Stern.  

Lombard Odier’s investment was part of a recent capital raise by SYSTEMIQ that also attracted the family office of German construction company, Goldbeck, and Andre Hoffmann, the heir to Swiss healthcare giant Roche.  

The new investors join existing shareholders including former Unilever CEO, Paul Polman, and the Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust.  

News of the deal comes as Reuters reports that Japanese financial group Softbank led a $50m funding round for sustainability data tech firm Clarity AI, joining existing investors including BlackRock and Deutsche Boerse.  

Financial institutions have been piling in on smaller ESG firms recently. In September, AXA Investment Managers, Natixis IM and Mirova all took minority stakes in biodiversity-focused fintech firm Iceberg Data Lab. Arms of Allianz, Commerzbank, Accenture and DWS have taken equity in ESG data provider Arabesque S-Ray.  

Lombard Odier, which manages assets of CHF352bn (€337bn), has been a client of SYSTEMIQ for two years, collaborating on its sectorial transition roadmaps and sustainable investment methodologies.  

The deal will see the pair, which both hold ‘B-Corp’ status, work together more closely, including Lombard Odier using “SYSTEMIQ’s innovative platforms to verify and optimise its sustainable investment offering for clients”.   

SYSTEMIQ has also announced a restructuring which will see founders Martin Stuchtey and Jeremy Oppenheim – both ex- partners at consulting titan McKinsey & Co – hand over executive leadership to Taraneh Azad and Guido Schmidt-Traub, who joined the firm in 2019 and 2021, respectively.

Azan spent more than a decade at Goldman Sachs, working in commodities. Schmidt-Traub is a climate change specialist and former Executive Director of the UN-backed Sustainable Development Solutions Network. 

Stuchtey and Oppenheim will take new roles in the company and will remain shareholders and board members.