ESG Playmaker Transfers to BlackRock

    Stockholm (NordSIP) – The summer break is often when elite footballers get poached by a bigger club.  Sustainability’s own transfer season continues in full swing as asset management behemoth BlackRock recruits Christopher Kaminker as Deputy Head of BlackRock Sustainable Investing (BSI).  Kaminker joined the firm’s London office on July 11, 2022, reporting to US-based Global Head of Sustainable Investing Paul Bodnar.

    The move ends Kaminker’s 3-year tenure as Head of the Sustainable Investment Research, Strategy and Stewardship (SIRSS) team at Swiss private bank Lombard Odier (LO).  During his time at LO, Kaminker helped build up the SIRSS team of experts to act as the strategic engine room supporting the design and launch of dedicated sustainability products such as the LO Natural Capital and Climate Transition equity funds.  He holds a PhD from Oxford University, where he also acts as a visiting fellow within the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment.  Lombard Odier also signed a multi-year sustainable finance research partnership with Oxford University in 2021.

    Before joining Lombard Odier, Kaminker was Head of Sustainable Finance Research and a Senior Advisor at SEB.  Prior to that, Kaminker was the lead economist and policy advisor for sustainable finance at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and represented the OECD as a delegate to the G20 and Financial Stability Board.  Given the strong academic ties that have been built up by Kaminker with Oxford University it will be interesting to see what impact this move might have on LO’s internal research capabilities in the near-term.

    In moving from an asset management firm with approximately USD 67 billion under management to one that handles more than USD 10 trillion, one can expect that Kaminker will be hoping to be able to implement his sustainability ideas on a much larger scale.  One of the challenges for specialist transition-focused sustainability strategies is that many of the innovative firms that fit the bill are still operating in the small to mid-cap space, which can limit the capacity of these products to take on large amounts of institutional investment capital.

    For BlackRock, the recruitment of Christopher Kaminker would appear to signal a further move towards greater sustainability across its vast product line.  The consistency of the firm’s high-level commitments and public statements regarding net-zero have been occasionally questioned in the media, as reported by NordSIP earlier this year.  Bringing in someone with Kaminker’s track record in sustainability is hopefully an indicator of BlackRock’s genuine determination to use their might to help tackle urgent issues like the climate crisis.  BlackRock states that Kaminker will focus on research-driven product innovation across all regions globally and in areas such as energy transition, biodiversity, and climate resilience.  He will work with the BlackRock Investment Institute (BII) and the firm’s investment platforms in providing research and analytics to support their sustainable investing strategies.

    Image courtesy of leandro detoni from Pixabay (edited)
    Richard Tyszkiewicz
    Richard Tyszkiewicz
    Richard has over 30 years’ experience in the international investment industry. He has worked closely with major Nordic investors on consultancy projects, focusing on the evaluation of external asset managers. While doing so, Richard built up a strong practical understanding of the challenges faced by institutional investors seeking to integrate ESG into their portfolios. Richard has an MA degree in Management and Spanish from St Andrews University, and sustainability qualifications from Cambridge University, PRI and the CFA Institute.

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