HSBC AM makes senior appointments in sustainability and responsible investing

HSBC Asset Management has strengthened its sustainability proposition with the creation of a Sustainability Office and reorganisation of its Responsible Investment team.

The newly created Sustainability Office will be led by Erin Leonard, who is appointed Global Head of Sustainability and will report directly to CEO, Nicolas Moreau, as a member of his Management Committee. Under Erin’s leadership, the Sustainability Office will be responsible for the delivery of HSBC Asset Management’s sustainability strategy and the business-wide transition to sustainable investing. The team will also drive the firm’s people-focused initiatives, including Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, as part of its ambition to embed a sustainability culture across the business. 
Leonard moves into her new role with immediate effect and will continue to be based in London. She has over 25 years’ experience in asset management, including senior global leadership roles across investments, product development, strategy and institutional sales. Most recently, she was Interim Global Head of Institutional Business while also leading the firm’s Responsible Investment Initiative.
Nicolas Moreau, CEO HSBC Asset Management, says: “Sustainable investing has become one of the driving forces in our industry. The challenges of delivering on the Paris Agreement and meeting the diverse and fast-changing needs of our clients are immense, but they also offer enormous opportunities for growth.
“The creation of our Sustainability Office reflects the strategic importance of sustainability to our business and will enable us to be at the leading edge of this change. I’m confident that under Erin’s leadership, we’ll be able to take our sustainability proposition to the next level, and open up a world of sustainable investment opportunities.”
Melissa McDonald, formerly Head of Responsible Investment, has decided to take up a new opportunity outside of the asset management industry and as a result will be leaving HSBC at the end of August.
Stuart Kirk, currently Global Head of Research & Insights, is appointed Head of Responsible Investment. Reporting to Global CIO, Xavier Baraton, Kirk will lead a team responsible for the integration of ESG risks and opportunities across asset classes, as well as the firm’s voting policy and engagement initiatives. Stuart’s team will also lead the development of new ESG, climate change and thematic products and solutions, and the delivery of thematic research contributing to industry best practices and supporting thought leadership.
Kirk joined HSBC Asset Management in September 2020 as Global Head of Research & Insights. He has more than 25 years’ experience in finance, from portfolio management and strategic consultancy roles to senior positions in journalism as well as buy and sell-side research. Kirk will retain his existing responsibilities and will start his new, expanded role on 12 July.
Xavier Baraton, Global CIO, HSBC Asset Management, says: “Responsible investing underpins all of our investment decisions and I’m delighted to be appointing Stuart to lead our efforts in this important area. Stuart’s experience in managing research teams and on ESG and climate related issues make him ideally placed to lead our Responsible Investment team, continue to raise our standards and champion collaboration and innovation across our investment platform.”
The firm will be expanding its Responsible Investment team with additional hires in areas including stewardship, climate change and data. The team will work closely with the Sustainability Office to deliver on the firm’s strategic objective of becoming a leader in sustainable investing.
In 2020, HSBC Asset Management set out its strategy to shape the market for sustainable investing through leadership in policy and industry engagement, company engagement, the development of new products and solutions, and by continuing to embed ESG across its investment approach. The firm is supporting the transition overall and in climate critical sectors; creating innovative investment solutions to meet client investment and sustainability goals.
This announcement follows last week’s launch of RadiantESG Global Investors, a female-owned, ESG and D&I focused independent asset management firm backed by HSBC Asset Management. It also follows last year’s launch of Climate Asset Management, a joint venture between HSBC Asset Management and Pollination, a climate change advisory and investment firm, to create the world’s largest dedicated natural capital asset management company.