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RI People & Appointments, November 2: PRI, Pax World, Commonfund, Threadneedle, ECCR

The latest ESG movers and shakers

Voting is underway in the Principles for Responsible Investment’s (PRI) annual Board elections – the deadline for signatories to cast their vote is Monday November 9. The PRI has two open asset owner positions and one open investment manager position to fill this year and six candidates. The Board has undertaken a skills self-assessment exercise and would welcome candidates with significant experience in markets outside of the US and Europe in particular, given the PRI is trying to reach into new markets. Link

The PRI is also calling for applications from asset owner signatories to sit on a new Asset Owner Advisory Committee. The committee will advise the work of the Asset Owner work stream, which is being set up as part of the PRI’s 2015-2018 strategic plan. Expressions of interest should be sent by November 28 to Don Gerritsen. Candidates will be notified about the results of the selection procedure in the week of December 21.

US-based sustainable investing firm Pax World has hired former Goldman Sachs executive Peter Schwab as a portfolio manager of its High Yield Bond Fund. Schwab, who was Director of High Yield Research at Goldman Sachs, replaces Mary Austin, who is re-locating to be closer to her family.

Mark Anson has been named as the new Chief Investment Officer at Commonfund, the US asset management firm focused on nonprofit institutions that is chaired by former Goldman Sachs executive Bob Litterman. Currently CIO of the Robert Bass Family Office, Anson was previously CIO at CalPERS and Hermes Pension Management, where he managed the British Telecom Pension Scheme. He will join Commonfund in April. Announcement

Nordea, the Nordic financial services group, has made some senior appointments. Snorre Storset, formerly Head of Nordea Life & Pensions, is appointed new Deputy Head of Wealth Management. Erik Ekman becomes Head of Wholesale Banking. Both become members of the company’s Group Executive Management (GEM) team.

Geoffrey Graber, a former lawyer at the US Justice Department who helped investigate the sale of mortgage-backed securities by banks in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, has reportedly joined class-action lawsuits law firm Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll as a partner.

Peter Rae, former Australian Senator and long standing renewable energy proponent, has been named as the next President of the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) for a two-year term. He takes over from predecessor Prof. He Dexin.Matt Evans has been named as portfolio manager of the new Threadneedle Ethical UK Equity Fund from Columbia Threadneedle. Evans, who joined the firm in 2013 and also co-manages the Threadneedle UK Smaller Companies Fund, said: “It is our belief that companies that operate in an ethical way are more likely to generate sustainable returns over time.” The actively managed fund will invest in stocks which meet ethical criteria including screening for alcohol, tobacco and weapons. And the fund targets companies that have a strong approach to environmental, social and corporate governance factors. The fund launched with £22.7m (€31.9m) following the transition of investors from the Teachers Sovereign Ethical Fund.

Nils Kok, Chief Executive of the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB), is among a number of industry figures named to the new AA1000AS Working Group, overseeing the next release of the corporate social responsibility, sustainability and accountability standards. Also involved are Glenn Frommer, Managing Partner, ESG Matters; Monika Kumar, Environmental Specialist – Corporate Responsibility Program, World Bank; and Sarah Bostwick, Manager- Reporting, UN Global Compact; Co-Coordinator, UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges.

Elizabeth Corley, the CEO and co-head of Allianz Global Investors (AllianzGI) will step down from her position on March 1 next year. She will be succeeded by Andreas Utermann, the current global chief investment officer. Corley becomes Vice Chairman at Allianz Global Investors, a new part-time role.

RSF Social Finance, the US non-profit financial services organization, has announced its 2015-2016 Social Impact Fellows. They include Alex Bergonia (Wetherby Asset Management), Anderson Barkow (recently graduated from Santa Clara University), Chris Theriot (Shepherd Advisors), veteran banker Daniel Alberttis, Dylan Schneider (co-founder: Peaceful Uprising), Theo Holt (Sullivan & Cromwell LLP), Tyler Jackson (Sustainable MBA, Presidio Graduate School).

The UK-based Community Development Finance Association has rebranded to Responsible Finance and is seeking a new chair to lead its new strategy. The organization wants to broaden its membership and become a greater national voice for providers of responsible finance.

The Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR), the UK-based church-based investor coalition, is looking for a new chair of its trustees as Bishop Michael Doe completes his three-year term at the end of this year. If you are interested, please contact John Arnold.