PRI founder James Gifford leaves impact investment role at UBS

Former PRI Executive Director joined Swiss bank in 2017

James Gifford, the founding Executive Director of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), is leaving his role as Head of Impact Investing at UBS Wealth Management’s Chief Investment Office arm after two and a half years.

Gifford joined UBS in 2017 having left the PRI in 2013 after a decade at the helm; he spent three years as a Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Initiative for Responsible Investment. He was succeeded at the PRI by Fiona Reynolds.

He also had stints on the Brown Advisory Sustainable Investment Advisory Board and private equity firm Tau Investment Management.

He is also a Senior Fellow at the University of Zurich’s Centre for Sustainable Finance and Private Wealth and a former Young Global Leader for the World Economic Forum.

“We can confirm that James Gifford is leaving UBS,” a UBS spokesperson said, adding that James Purcell would remain the global lead for sustainable and impact investing at UBS Global Wealth Management’s CIO.Andrew Lee remains the lead for the Americas. Gifford, whose role at UBS involved dealing with high net worth individuals and families on sustainable investment, declined to comment on his next steps.

“We can confirm that James Gifford is leaving UBS

His move to UBS came as the Swiss bank’s asset management arm ramped up its sustainable investment push with the recruitment of leading figures like Michael Baldinger, the former CEO of RobecoSAM, as Head of Sustainable and Impact Investing.

Baldinger was followed by other top RobecoSAM executives like Christopher Greenwald and Christine Gugolz Kiefer. Valeria Piani, the former head of investor engagements at PRI, also joined around the same time.