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Standard Life hires Railpen sustainability head as it deepens ESG commitment

Factors to be fully integrated in investment research.

Deborah Gilshan, the respected lead on corporate governance and sustainable investment at RPMI Railpen, manager of the UK Railways Pension Scheme, one of the UK’s biggest with assets under management of £25bn, is to join Standard Life Investments, the £270bn fund manager, as Governance & Stewardship Director as the fund manager expands its ESG team and embeds it into the investment process.
Gilshan became Head of Sustainable Ownership at Railpen in January 2015 after seven years as Corporate Governance Counsel. She joins Edinburgh-based Standard Life in May reporting to Euan Stirling, Head of Stewardship & ESG Investment, who said the manager’s ESG Investment team is growing in size and importance. Stirling, a former senior fund manager and investment analyst in the UK Equity Team at Standard Life, took over the ESG role at Standard Life from Guy Jubb, who retired in October 2015. He said Standard Life is moving ESG considerations further up the investment agenda to the extent that ESG issues are “now formally integrated as part of our investment research process.” Gilshan’s new role will involve actively engaging with companies, boards and regulators on governance issues, as well as implementing governance and stewardship issues within the manager’s investment process.In a career at Railpen spanning almost a decade, Gilshan was instrumental in the fund’s approach to active ownership, corporate governance and public policy work to improve shareholder rights.
Other industry roles she has held include being the founder of The 100% Club, a network for professional women in finance created in October 2011. She is also member of the Steering Committee at the 30% Club, a body aiming to get more women on corporate boards, where she co-chairs its UK institutional investor group.
In addition, she is a member of the Steering Group of the UK Financial Reporting Council’s project on corporate culture and serves on the FRC’s Stakeholder Advisory Panel.
Chris Hitchen, Railpen CEO, highlighted Gilshan’s contribution to governance and stewardship, and in particular a project she led on the development of a framework to integrate sustainable ownership factors across Railpen’s investments.