Credit Suisse boosts impact investment franchise
Bank appoints Dr James Gifford new impact advisory head, Guillaume Bonnel as sustainable and impact products head, and Helen McDonald as head of UK foundations
Credit Suisse has made three senior hires in Singapore, Zurich and London with regards to the rapidly growing impact investment and sustainable finance markets. These hires complement Daniel Wild who has joined the bank’s Impact Advisory and Finance (IAF) Department as global head of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Strategy, as announced in April.
Dr James Gifford has joined Credit Suisse in the newly created role of head of Impact Advisory. Gifford is responsible for advising Credit Suisse’s private wealth clients globally and for helping to drive the bank’s impact thought leadership and impact industry development initiatives. He joined Credit Suisse from UBS where he was previously head of Impact Investing within their Wealth Management Division.
A recognized pioneer in the industry, Gifford has been instrumental in championing the transition of the financial markets to more sustainable investing, as well as investing with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental benefits.
In 2004, he founded the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing (PRI), the market’s leading initiative for sustainable investing, which was part of the United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative. The UN PRI today has more than 2,250 signatories, including Credit Suisse, which represent more than US$85 trillion of assets under management.
Additionally, in 2014 Gifford established and developed the joint family office impact investing program at Harvard University and the University of Zurich, which has become the premier program globally in the study of impact investing for next generation family members. He has a PhD in economics, focused on the effectiveness of shareholder engagement in improving corporate sustainability performance.
Based in Singapore, Gifford reports to Marisa Drew, CEO of the IAF Department, with a regional reporting line to Bernard Fung, head of Wealth Planning Services, Asia-Pacific.
Guillaume Bonnel has joined the bank as head of Sustainable and Impact Products. Bonnel is responsible for managing the sustainable and impact product-offering suite and for driving associated product education and advisory services. He was previously at Lombard Odier where he held the title of Head of Impact Investing since October 2016.
Bonnel has extensive experience in designing and managing impact investing products, creating sustainable finance offerings and advising clients on achieving their sustainable investment goals. During his six years at Lombard Odier, Bonnel was responsible for building the sustainable mandates business for the bank, amongst his many accomplishments. Prior to this, Bonnel was a sustainable and responsible investment advisor at a number of financial institutions, including BNP Paribas.
Based in Zurich, Bonnel has a dual reporting line to Marisa Drew in IAF and to Steven Bates, head of Investment Product Management, within IS&P Product & Services.
In July, it was announced that that Helen McDonald joined Credit Suisse as UK Head of Foundations and Impact Advisory Services, a newly created role in which she looks after UK nonprofit institutions and advises UK clients in respect of their sustainable and impact investment ambitions.
McDonald joined from UBS where she was most recently Head of Charities, Foundations and Social Investing. Previously she worked at Goldman Sachs, SG Warburg Securities and Kleinwort Benson Investment Management. She also spent four years as a member of the Investment Committee at Trinity College, Oxford.
McDonald is based in London and has a dual reporting line into the UK private banking team, led by Christian Berchem, CEO of Credit Suisse UK, part of International Wealth Management, and into the IAF Department, led by Marisa Drew.
Marisa Drew, CEO of the IAF Department, says, “Our significant investment in the sustainable finance and impact franchise with these strategic hires will allow us to broaden and deepen our IAF product offering and advisory practice in order to better serve our clients who aspire to invest more impactfully.”
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