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SJP hires former Hermes governance boss to head SRI

SJP hires former Hermes governance boss to head SRI

St James’s Place has hired Hermes' former co-head of its ethical equity advisory, Emma Hunt, to head responsible investment.

Hunt co-managed Hermes EOS (Equity Ownership Service) between 2015 and 2017. She has since worked as a consultant and independent adviser.

She previously worked as global head of sustainable and responsible investment at Willis Tower Watson and head of responsible investment in Europe, Middle East and Africa at Mercer.

Hunt said: ‘ESG [environmental, social and governance] practices and good stewardship are now integral to the identity of any investment institution.

‘Given the reputation of St James’s Place and its market leading position in the financial advice market, I look forward to developing the business’ capabilities and helping to further enhance its investment proposition in the interest of clients.’

St. James’s Place chief investment officer Tom Beal said the hire would allow the firm to integrate ESG into its ‘identity and investment approach’, with the firm currently operating a minimum ESG criteria framework for its portfolio managers.

He added: ‘Emma joins us at an exciting point for the business, bringing with her a wealth of expertise and experience, having been at the forefront of developments in sustainable and responsible investing for over 20 years.’

In October, SJP reported that total client assets topped £100 billion in the third quarter, powered by continued strong demand among pension investors, who committed £2.23 billion in the period.

That contributed to an outsize proportion of the company’s net inflow of £2.4 billion, taking its inflow over the calendar year to £7.6 billion and its total funds under management to £100.6 billion.

Despite a sharp breakdown in risk appetite compared to the booming equity markets of 2017, that figure was 15% higher than last year’s £6.6 billion.

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