ESG research firm Sustainalytics names bank executive as Germany chief

Well-known industry figure takes over from Axel Wilhelm

Environmental, social and governance research firm Sustainalytics has named Hendrik Garz, the former executive director of extra-financial research at German regional bank WestLB, as its new managing director for Germany.
Garz replaces Axel Wilhelm, who left Sustainalytics in early April to join Hanover-based life insurer Oeco Capital as its new head of sustainable investments.
Sustainalytics also named Claudia Volk from WestLB as senior manager of its German research team.
Speaking to Responsible Investor about his appointment, Garz said one of his key objectives at Sustainalytics would be to expand the firm’s institutional client base in Germany.

“In that market, we see particular growth potential among pension funds and insurers,” he said, adding that Sustainalytics would continue to be well represented among ecumenical organisations.
Now that Germany’s biggest insurers, namely Munich Re and Allianz, and its biggest pension fund, the Bayerische Versorgungskammer, have embraced the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), expectations are that other members of the industry will follow.

MetallRente, the €3bn pension scheme for the engineering industry, signed up to the PRI in July.Sustainalytics’ German clients include DWS, the retail fund arm of Deutsche Bank (€164bn under management) and German development bank KfW. According to DWS, Sustainalytics provides its portfolio managers with raw ESG data and detailed reports on 2,000 listed companies worldwide. The Amsterdam-based firm advises the KfW on its €20bn in bond investments by supplying ESG ratings on issuers.
Garz is a well-known figure in Germany’s sustainable investment community. While at WestLB, his team supported the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) by producing the country reports for Germany in 2010 and 2011. Garz has also managed several research projects, including one on carbon emissions, the market value at risk for German power utilities and, together with Eurosif, ESG issues in the information technology sector.
Garz, who has a PhD in economics for the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, also sits on several panels dealing with ESG issues, including that of The European Federation of Financial Analyst Societies (EFFAS) and the advisory committee for the Stoxx ESG indices. He was also involved in developing Germany’s sustainability code.

Sustainalytics recently acquired Singapore-based Responsible Research and has added new staff in London and Bogotà. It now has more than 120 staff and over 70 research analysts.