People & Appointments: Hoepner to lead UK asset manager stewardship review

The latest ESG movers and shakers: Standard Chartered Bank names Barsky as global head of sustainability strategy; RIAA CEO O’Connor steps down after 10 years.

Andreas Hoepner, professor of operational risk, banking and finance at University College Dublin, has been appointed by the UK Asset Owner Roundtable to carry out a review of how asset managers have interpreted their clients’ long-term interests in the exercise of their stewardship duties. The review, expected to be published in October, will look at the voting track records of asset managers at certain critical companies. “We need to ensure that within stewardship in specific – and responsible investment in general – we are walking the walk at a certain pace rather than talking the same walk we may take every year,” Hoepner told Responsible Investor.

Standard Chartered Bank has named Dana Barsky as its global head of sustainable strategy and net zero. Barsky formerly worked at Credit Suisse as global head of sustainable finance until the end of 2021. She worked at the bank for more than four years, having been initially appointed as chief operating officer and head of sustainable products and partnerships. She will continue in her role as board member of Growth for Good, a special-purpose acquisition company seeking to acquire a sustainable business.

Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) CEO Simon O’Connor has stepped down following 10 years with the organisation. The RIAA represents more than 500 investment organisations across Australia and New Zealand that collectively manage more than $29 trillion in assets. O’Connor will work closely with the board for the next six months to recruit a new CEO and ensure a smooth transition to new leadership.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) lead author and Technische Universiteit Delft professor Kornelis Blok has been named chair of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) technical council. Blok is also a member of the Netherlands scientific climate council, and chairman of sustainability centre Milieu Centraal.

AXA IM Alts – the private markets arm of AXA Investment Managers – has promoted Laurent Lavergne to global head of sustainability. Lavergne will take up the newly created role on 1 October. He will also assume the current responsibilities of Justin Travlos, global head of responsible investment, who is leaving the manager after five years. He has worked at AXA IM for more than 26 years, currently in the role of global head of asset management.

Federated Hermes has poached Sian Long from AXA IM to fill the role of investment director for its impact and sustainable equity strategies. She will work across global equity, impact opportunities, SDG engagement and biodiversity strategies. Long spent more than one year at AXA IM as a senior investment specialist, managing its global sustainable and impact equities. Prior to this, she worked on Schroders’ global, thematic and sustainable equities as associate investment director.

Global insurance group Howden has appointed Rowan Douglas as CEO of climate risk and resilience. Douglas headed up insurance firm WTW’s climate and resilience hub for more than nine years, having joined Willis Re in 2000. He has also been chair of the operating committee at the Insurance Development Forum since 2016.

Investment manager First Sentier Investors has named Sudip Hazra as director of the First Sentier Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group sustainable investment institute. The institute – which was established in 2021 – provides independent research on sustainable investment-orientated issues. Hazra joins from Invesco, where he was director of ESG research for nearly two years. Previous roles include head of sustainability research at Kepler Cheuvreux, which he joined as a senior sustainability analyst in 2011.

Yvonne Bakkum has announced plans to step down as managing director of impact investor FMO Investment Management in October. She co-established FMO IM with Nic Wessemius in late 2012, and developed it into an investment firm in 2015. She will continue in her roles as a member of Climate Fund Managers’ supervisory board, a member of the Principles for Responsible Investment’s asset owner advisory committee, and chair of the Netherlands Advisory Board on impact investing.

Former chief sustainability officer at asset manager DWS and whistleblower Desiree Fixler has joined sustainable finance education start-up Attain as chief content officer. Fixler is also an ESG advisory committee member at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and at the CFA Institute, as well as chair of VentureESG, a non-profit driving the adoption of ESG in the venture capital industry.

Poppy Brinsley has been promoted to senior manager of international sustainable finance at Australia bank ANZ. She has worked at the bank for more than three years, previously as sustainable finance manager. Her promotion leaves an opening for a new sustainable finance manager at the bank. The candidate will work with senior sustainable finance bankers to grow its sustainability efforts.

Pauline Lejay has left the French public service pension scheme ERAFP where she spent more than seven years as head of socially responsible investment. She has joined CDC Croissance, part of Caisse des Dépôts and accredited by the French financial regulator the AMF, as head of ESG. Lejay was replaced by Pierre Devichi took on Lejay’s previous role at ERAFP earlier this month.

Johara Farhadieh has been appointed as deputy chief investment officer at Wespath Benefits and Investments, succeeding current CIO Dave Zellner, who is retiring this summer after more than 26 years at the not-for-profit administrative agency of The United Methodist Church. Farhadieh joins from the Illinois State Board of Investment (ISBI) where she worked as executive director and chief investment officer, spending more than 15 years at the firm.

FTI Consulting has appointed former co-chair of the UN Principles of Responsible Banking Wendy Dobson to spearhead its global financial services sustainability offering. Dobson spent more than 13 years at Standard Bank Group – Africa’s largest bank – where she worked as head of group policy, advocacy and sustainability between 2014 and 2019.

The Australian Sustainable Finance Institute (ASFI) is seeking expressions of interest for its sustainable finance capability reference group, which will develop principles for the accreditation of courses including meeting quality assurance requirements and providing appropriate competency outcomes and a basis for assessment. The ASFI is looking for people who have expertise in the development or delivery of sustainable finance training courses, or people with extensive subject matter expertise in sustainable finance. The deadline for applications is 4 August.

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has appointed five new advisory members to its investment committee. The committee, established in February 2022, provides strategic oversight of the office of investments, which manages TNC’s multi-billion-dollar endowment and other long-term investment assets. The new members include Barry Eggers, founding partner of venture capital firm Lightspeed Venture Partners; Joseph Gleberman, CEO of the Pritzker Organisation; Leonie Foong, partner and investment committee member at Overlook Investments; Sandra Robertson, CEO and CIO at Oxford University Endowment Management; and Tanya Barnes, managing partner of sustainable growth equity at JPMorgan Asset Management. The members can serve up to three-year terms.

Kamesh Korangi has joined the Anthropocene Fixed Income Institute (AFII) as a quant credit strategist. His role will focus on developing AFII’s portfolio analytics suite for climate risk. He leaves Credince where he worked as a data analytics consultant for more than three years.