RI People & Appointments, Aug. 21: Varma names Kaskela as Director of Responsible Investment

The latest ESG movers and shakers.

Hanna Kaskela has been appointed Director of Responsible Investment at Varma, Finland’s largest pension insurance company with assets of €45bn. She will report to Chief Investment Officer Reima Rytsölä in the newly created role and will also become a member of the firm’s Investment Operations’ Executive Group. The appointment comes as Varma’s Specialist, Responsible Investing, Pirta Wentzel leaves the company. Kaskela has worked at Varma since 2003, most recently as a Portfolio Manager. She was also responsible for creating the firm’s sustainable equity portfolio. RI was told that Varma will be looking to hire an ESG Analyst shortly; in May it updated its ownership policy setting out its expectations of companies in which it is a major shareholder.

Australia’s Christian Super, which describes itself as “a global leader in stewardship, impact investing and responsible investment” is also currently recruiting for a new Chief Executive Officer after the announced departure of Peter Murphy, who leaves after almost a decade in the role.

Robert Jackson, a Professor of Law and Policy at Columbia Law School with strong ESG credentials, could make it to the shortlist of nominees that will fill the vacant Democratic Commissioner seat at the SEC. Jackson, an advocate of market transparency, chaired an initiative to petition the SEC that public companies disclose their shareholders’ political donations and other resources for political activities. Jackson was also involved in a CalPERS initiative in 2013 that created a database of academic research on sustainability.

Adam Kirk, the former Head of Business Development and Client Relations at Australian Ethical, the Sydney-based specialist, has been named National Manager, Retail Distribution at mutual finance firm Australian Unity. “Adam’s background in sustainable and responsible investing coupled with his well-established connections in the retail financial services industry will support Australian Unity in its next phase of growth,” said Head of Distribution Derek Emery.

Kajetan Czyz, Project Manager at the Climate Bonds Initiative, has been appointed Programme Director, Sustainable Finance at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, the UK University’s sustainable finance research and education hub. Czyz, a member of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), was a representative for the European investment industry at the Paris Climate Summit in 2015.

The Institute has also temporarily appointed Ellen Quigley, a finishing PhD student at the University, as Senior Programme Manager for its Investment Leaders Group, providing maternity cover for Clarisse Simonek. The Leaders Group comprises nine major investors (worth an estimated $5trn in assets) and aims to promote the integration of various ESG issues into their investment policies and practices.

Palatine Private Equity, the Manchester-based lower middle market investor, has reportedly expanded its impact fund team with the appointments of James Gregson as Investment Director and Matt Coles as Investment Manager. Gregson, formerly with UK accountancy network BDO LLP, and Coles, a Senior Manager at PwC, will work with the Fund’s Partners Beth Houghton and Zoe Clements as it targets a close of £75m for its impact fund – at the end of last year the fund managed a first close of £50m.Horst Köhler, the former President of Germany, has been named as the personal envoy for the Western Sahara for UN Secretary-General António Guterres. He succeeds the US’s Christopher Ross. Köhler previously served as Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and was President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Nico Aspinall’s tenure as Chair of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ (IFoA) Resource and Environment Board has ended after two years in the role. Under his chairmanship, the UK based actuarial association issued in May its first climate related ‘risk alert’ and guide to all IFoA members drawing their attention to the “material risk” that climate change poses. Apsinall, a former Head of DC investment consulting for Willis Towers Watson, will be succeeded by Louise Pryor.

Xolani Mkhwanazi has been appointed deputy chairman of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), South Africa’s state-owned asset manager. Reports said Mkhwanazi is a respected independent director and serves on several boards, including Gibela, Murray & Roberts and South 32. He was also chairman of the Central Energy Fund. The PIC runs assets for the Government Employees Pension Fund.

Dionne Delli-Gatti has been named Director, Southeast Clean Energy at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the not-for-profit body. She was formerly with the Environmental Protection Agency, where she was a senior advisor to the Regional Administrator for the agency’s Southeast Region.

Shell Asset Management Company, the $85bn dedicated in-house asset manager for the UK-Dutch oil giant, is looking to recruit a Financial Analyst / Portfolio Manager Fundamental Equity to join its team in the Netherlands. The successful candidate will support a number of investment strategies managed by the firm’s Equity Department.

A Head of Project Green Finance – Green Finance Market Regulation and Green Bonds is being sought on behalf of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). Partners include the Brazilian Ministry of Finance and the Brazilian Central Bank, amongst others.

The Committee on Climate Change, an independent expert body established to advise the UK Parliament and government, is looking for a new Chief Executive. The Committee is the first body of its kind in the world and brings together expertise from fields of climate science and policy, economics, technology, behaviour and business.

S&P Global is looking to recruit a Managing Director, US Equities to be the product manage the global index provider’s US indices. The successful candidate will be responsible for promoting the use of the S&P Dow Jones Indices – which include the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average – in the US and Globally.

Sail Ventures, the Amsterdam-based impact investment firm set up this year, is seeking an ESG Impact Analyst to work on the $100m AndGreen.Fund