SJP positions itself as responsible wealth manager with hire

FTSE 100 wealth manager hires former Hermes woman

SJP

St. James’s Place (SJP) has appointed Emma Hunt as head of responsible investment in a move that is being interpreted as a bid to position itself as a “responsible wealth manager”.

Hunt (pictured) previously worked previously at Mercer, Towers Watson and Hermes, focusing on environmental, social, governance (ESG) and responsible investing.

The wealth manager said Hunt will be leading the strategic and operational development of its responsible investment offering, enhance the company’s stewardship capabilities and further engage partners and clients in its responsible investment work.

Hortense Bioy, director of passive funds and sustainability research, at Morningstar said: “SJP clearly want to position itself as a responsible wealth manager who will only do business with responsible portfolio managers and set high ESG standards for them.”

Bioy said sustainable investing is an opportunity to “connect with clients at a deeper level” and for SJP to differentiate themselves.

Bioy said the appointment shows the firm is anticipating growth in demand for ESG funds and said a head of responsible investing at a wealth manager would typically help with the manager selection process and client reporting, among other things. “An ESG capability can help advisors attract and retain assets, especially women and millennials where demand is reportedly the greatest.”

Tom Beal, deputy chief investment officer at SJP, added: “We operate a minimum ESG criteria framework for all our underlying portfolio managers which reflects the increased interest in this area from our clients to hold ESG-friendly portfolios.

Beal said she had been at the forefront of developments in sustainable and responsible investing for over 20 years.

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