With thanks to Miriam Heale, Allen & York www.allen-york.com
Appointment of the month
Petra Pflaum is the new chief investment officer for responsible investments at Deutsche Asset Management (Deutsche AM). Pflaum, who started out as a sell-side analyst, joined Deutsche AM in 1999 as portfolio manager for European small and midcap (SMC) funds and was a buy-side analyst for European consumer companies. In 2011 she became head of research and global head of SMC, before becoming head of equities Europe, Middle East and Africa in 2014, where she was responsible for platform capabilities and performance.
“Although many academic studies support a positive contribution of ESG considerations on performance, I was curious as to why it is hardly used in portfolio management,” she says, explaining how her interest in working in this sector was sparked.
Her new role sees her managing a dedicated ESG team, while also retaining her position as head of equities in Europe, Middle East and Africa for Deutsche AM. She will also become a member of the management board. Pflaum now has a co-head of equities, Britta Weidenbach, former head of European equities.
Pflaum’s objectives are clear: “I would like for Deutsche AM to become a leading asset manager when it comes to integrating ESG into the investment process, and for us to deliver dedicated ESG solutions.”
Real estate investment manager LaSalle has hired Eric Duchon as global head of sustainability, based in the company’s Chicago office. In this newly created role, Duchon will be advising LaSalle’s senior leadership on sustainability initiatives for the private and public equity and private debt businesses. He will also chair LaSalle’s global sustainability committee.
Jeff Jacobson, global CEO, commented: “We firmly believe there is a positive correlation between sustainability and enhanced property performance, and Eric’s role will be critical to our continued success in focusing on what has become one of the key investment objectives for our global clients.”
Duchon has more than a decade of sustainability-focused real estate management and advisory experience. He most recently served as director of sustainability strategies for Cushman & Wakefield in New York.
“I am thrilled to be joining LaSalle during such a critical period of growth and heightened focus on sustainability initiatives both at the corporate level and across the portfolio,” said Duchon. “I look forward to working with our leadership team to help define and drive strategic priorities for the firm’s global sustainability platform.”
The European Commission has a new high-level expert group on sustainable finance, comprising 20 policy leaders from civil society, the finance sector and academia. Its objective is to provide, by the end of 2017, recommendations for a comprehensive EU strategy on sustainable finance as part of the Capital Markets Union. Christian Thimann, group head of regulation, sustainability and insurance foresight at AXA, will be chairperson. He recently served as vice-chair of the Financial Stability Board Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosures.
Sander Paul Van Tongeren is now managing director of GRESB (the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark). Van Tongeren has been part of GRESB since it was founded in 2009 and was formerly head of EMEA.
James Gifford has joined UBS Wealth Management as its senior impact investing strategist. Gifford, who will be based in Hong Kong, is former founding executive director of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, and was most recently senior fellow at Harvard University's Initiative for Responsible Investment.
Elsbeth Quispel has joined international real estate consultant Cushman & Wakefield as head of strategic consulting and sustainability. She has spent the past four years as managing director, ESG and real estate at GRESB.
The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, the political risk insurance and credit enhancement arm of the World Bank Group, has appointed Merli Margaret Baroudi as director of economics and sustainability. Baroudi has been with the World Bank since 2003.
Sustainable investment specialist RobecoSAM has named Marius Dorfmeister as its global head of clients and also a member of the executive committee. He was previously a member of the executive board of Vescore, a privately owned investment manager.
The UN Principles for Responsible Investment has announced the appointment of 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.
HSBC is to form a new, dedicated sustainable finance unit, which aims to act as a central point of coordination and support for its clients regarding sustainability. The London-based department will be run by Christian Déséglise, HSBC’s global head of central banks and global co-head of sovereign and public funds, and Michael Ellam, managing director of HSBC’s public sector banking team in its financial institutions group.
Robert M. Griffin Jr. is now vice president, business development at CustomerFirst Renewables. Griffin served the US Department of the Navy for 36 years and was previously executive director in its renewable energy program office.
Zillah Bingley is now chief executive of Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity. She was formerly CEO at Research Autism.
Global investment manager Standard Life Investments has recruited Deborah Gilshan as its new governance and stewardship director. Gilshan, who will join in May, is currently head of sustainable ownership at RPMI Railpen, which manages the Railways Pension Scheme.