Hoffmann-Fischer Embarks on New ESG Journey

    Stockholm (NordSIP) – On February 3rd, Eaton Vance announced that Henrik Hoffmann-Fischer (pictured) has joined the firm as Business Development Director, Nordics. NordSIP took this opportunity to catch up with Hoffmann-Fischer, who told us about his move and how he believes his new firm will help meet institutional investors’ increasing demand for quality ESG strategies.

    Most recently, Hoffmann-Fischer worked for Union Bancaire Privé as Head of Sales, Nordics for 2.5 years. Prior to that, he held various roles at Kirstein A/S in Denmark as an Investment Consultant, Principal and latterly Co-Head of Intelligence for over 8 years.

    “I was motivated to join Eaton Vance because of the broad range of strategies provided to investors, which we believe are highly relevant in today’s market. Also, in my role at Kirstein as a Consultant, I worked with Eaton Vance and got to know them pretty well; their culture really appealed to me,” Hoffmann-Fischer starts.

    Hoffmann-Fischer is also excited about Eaton Vance’s commitment to ESG. “As a US-based manager, the firm’s track record is really strong. Calvert Research and Management (Calvert), Eaton Vance’s ESG affiliate, was founded in 1976 and has a long history in responsible investing, dating back to 1982. Their research process is based on an approach called ‘financial materiality’ — a methodology backed by years of experience that identifies which ESG factors are most likely to affect a company’s corporate performance. The ability of the research team to create a business case for responsible investment rather than just a value-oriented one intrigues me. They believe that ESG research findings can help investors better assess a company’s financial performance and create a pathway to engagement through proxy voting and direct dialogue.”

    For Hoffmann-Fischer, this sustainable investment culture is key to driving business nowadays, especially in the Nordics. “ESG is now a mainstream topic in any investor meeting, so it needs to be something that you’re able to address,” he says. “Institutional investors in the Nordics are amongst the most sophisticated and progressive in the world, and each Nordic country seems to be at a more advanced stage than the rest of the world. We are seeing the conversation move from traditional equity ESG investing to fixed income and alternatives and I believe that’s where Eaton Vance and Calvert can add value and be differentiated; Calvert has been managing portfolios investing in green bonds since 2011. Although many investors in the region are turning to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals as a basis, ESG is a such a broad and intricate topic and every investor has their own definition.”

    Joining an asset manager with a strong ESG product portfolio is no guarantee of success, however, and Hoffmann-Fischer looks forward to the task ahead. “The biggest challenge anywhere in the world is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to addressing how ESG solutions may meet the needs of institutional investors; each need is unique. However, we believe that ‘symbiosis’ is the way to proceed: Working with Eaton Vance and Calvert will give investors exposure to an asset manager with a long history in responsible investing who can work with individual investors to collaborate to create viable solutions for their unique needs. As a Responsible Investing leader, institutions should rely on Calvert for competitive returns and measurable impact,” the Business Development Director adds.

    “Given that Nordic investors are very sophisticated and they are searching for higher-yielding investment solutions, this leads to consideration of strategies including sustainable investing approaches in traditional fixed income, emerging market debt, leveraged credit, as well as systematic and risk premia strategies, which Eaton Vance is in the best place to provide,” Hoffmann-Fischer concludes.

    Picture courtesy of Henrik Hoffmann-Fischer / NordSIP.

    Aline Reichenberg Gustafsson, CFA
    Aline Reichenberg Gustafsson, CFA
    Aline Reichenberg Gustafsson, CFA is Editor-in-Chief for NordSIP and Managing Director for Big Green Tree Media. She has 18 years of experience in the asset management industry in Stockholm, London and Geneva, including as a long/short equity hedge fund portfolio manager, and buy-side analyst, but also as CFO and COO in several asset management firms. Aline holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a License in Economic Sciences from the University of Geneva.

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