RI People & Appointments, January 9: Former PRI Executive Director James Gifford joins UBS

The round-up of the latest ESG movers and shakers

Former Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Executive Director James Gifford has been appointed Senior Impact Investing Strategist at UBS Wealth Management, a global role based in Hong Kong which involves encouraging the bank’s thought leadership and strategy on impact investing, as well as mobilizing capital from UBS’s ultra-high net worth clients into impact strategies. Gifford’s appointment comes half a year after the hiring of Michael Baldinger, former RobecoSAM CEO, as UBS Asset Management’s head of sustainable and impact investing based in New York. Gifford, who left the PRI in 2013, said it was an “exciting role that brings together everything I’ve been working on over many years”. Gifford said he would continue to co-lead the “Impact Investing for the Next Generation” program at Harvard Kennedy School in collaboration with the World Economic Forum. He added that as his Kennedy School Fellowship has formally ended, his academic affiliation would be transferred to the University of Zurich, where he will be contributing to the launch a new initiative called the Center for Sustainable Finance and Private Wealth. For the last three years Gifford worked with TAU Investment Management. He added: “UBS has the largest private wealth management business in the world and if we can help these clients deploy capital into businesses and projects that solve the world’s problems, the impact can be tremendous.”

Sander Paul Van Tongeren has been named as the new managing director of real estate sustainability body GRESB [Global Real. Estate Sustainability. Benchmark] that was acquired by Green Building Certification Inc. (GBCI) in 2014, taking over from founder Nils Kok, who announced his plans to leave GRESB earlier this year. Van Tongeren, formerly at APG Asset Management as Head of Sustainability Real Estate and Infrastructure, has been part of GRESB since the company was founded in 2009 and was formerly head of EMEA.

Eric Duchon has joined real estate investment giant LaSalle as Global Head of Sustainability, a newly created role. He was most recently Director of Sustainability Strategies at rival firm Cushman & Wakefield in New York. Duchon, who will advise senior management on sustainability initiatives for the private and public equity and private debt businesses, will chair LaSalle’s Global Sustainability Committee. LaSalle recently introduced a new Environmental secular component to its Investment Strategy Annual (ISA) 2017 report, published in December 2016. Announcement

Dutch civil service pension fund ABP has announced the death of board member Michael Damm. A board member since July 1 2015, Damm died on December 30. He was also on the board at Stichting Pensioenfonds Achmea, which said: “We will miss him.”The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) has announced the addition of 10 founding members to its previously announced Investor Advisory Group (IAG) that is chaired by CalSTRS CIO Chris Ailman. They include: Hugh Young (Aberdeen Asset Management); Bryan Thomson (bcIMC); Robert Lovelace (Capital Group); Carole Laible (Domini Impact Investment); Dan Hanson (Jarislowsky Fraser); Christopher Shipley (Northern Trust Asset Management); Felix Lanters (PGGM); Christian Stracke (PIMCO); Bruno Bertocci (UBS AM); and Glenn Booraem (Vanguard). Link

Adam Frost has joined Bridges Ventures as Head of Impact+ and New Strategy Development. He joins from Partners Group where he was Impact and ESG Investment Manager for the past three years, based in Switzerland. Frost has also held roles at BP Alternative Energy International, Apax Partners and Sarasin & Partners, where he was Head of Governance, Environmental & Social Research.

Rainer Lenz, a professor of economics and a former investment banker, has been named chairman of Brussels-based public interest body Finance Watch, taking over from Kurt Eliasson. Lenz is a professor of economics and a former investment banker. Fran Boait (Positive Money), Grégoire Niaudet (Caritas France) and Rainer Geiger (individual) were elected as new board directors. Finance Watch was set up in 2011 to act as a “counterweight” to the powerful financial lobby. Announcement

Marius Dorfmeister has been named global head of clients and a member of the executive committee at RobecoSAM, the specialist sustainable investment manager. He previously held similar roles at rival firm Vescore and has had stints at Notenstein Private Bank, Bank Sarasin & Cie and Falcon Private Bank.

The PRI has named three new signatory representatives to its Private Equity Advisory Committee. They are: Candice Brenet, Managing Director and Head of CSR and Responsible Investment at Ardian; Jie Gong, Partner, Hong Kong at Pantheon; and Ana Lei Ortiz, Managing Director, Relationship Management at Hamilton Lane. The Committee advises the PRI on the strategy and execution of the private equity programme.

Raj Shah has been appointed as the next president of the Rockefeller Foundation, taking over from Judith Rodin. A former Director of Strategic Opportunities at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Shah has been on the Rockefeller board of trustees since March 2015.

Sun Xi has set up his own ESG firm in Singapore called ESGuru. “Aiming to be a leader in ESG consultancy, we are looking for clients,” says the former analyst with Sustainalytics and Responsible Research.

Eaton Vance, the asset management firm that recently acquired SR firm Calvert Investments, has advertised vacancies for two Responsible Investment Strategy Specialists.