Could you introduce yourself and tell us about your role at BNP Paribas Asset Management (BNPP AM)?

I'm the CEO and country head of BNPP AM in Malaysia, where I set up our operations in 2007. As country head, I’m responsible for the welfare of my staff and developing our business with our clients in the country.
Away from BNPP AM, I sit on Malaysia’s Joint Committee for Climate Change, which was set up by the Malaysian Securities Commission and the Central Bank of Malaysia, as well as the Industry Advisor Panel to the ASEAN Working Committee on Capital Market Development (“WC-CMD”) and the ASEAN Capital Markets Forum. I'm also a treasurer with the Malaysian Association of Asset Managers, which is active in improving standards in the country’s asset management industry. An important part of its role is encouraging the industry to move towards a more sustainable approach to investment management.



What’s your personal interest in sustainability?

THE LOST FOOD
PROJECT SUPPORTED
BY BNP Paribas
HAS RESCUED 5 MILLION
MEALS

I’m hugely interested in sustainability on a personal level.
Back in 2015, I was involved with setting up the Lost Towel Project with a few friends. The project aims to empower the Chin Myanmar Women refugees with skills and financial support. As parents, we saw that our children often lost their sports towel at school, so we saw an opportunity: we invested in some sewing machines and towels and taught these women how to embroider while they wait for their refugee cards. We sold them to other parents at schools in town and all net profit went straight back to the women.
A year later, we set up The Lost Food Project. Supermarkets were throwing away lots of good food because it didn’t look perfect, so we discussed donating it to families in need with the grocers. We started out by collecting food in our cars from our local grocers, and we now have 5 tonne and 1 tonne refrigerated trucks collecting food from many partners, almost like a logistics company, and it is still growing. This project has been supported through funding from the BNP Paribas Help2Help programme.
To date, we’ve rescued 2 million kilograms of food, equivalent to 5 million meals, that would otherwise have been discarded. As well as feeding people, we’ve calculated it has prevented 3 million kilograms of CO2 emissions that would have resulted had it been sent to landfill.
I am also very thankful that BNP Paribas foundation Help2Help had also supported the growth of The Lost Food Project where we have received grants to support our operations for the past few years.

THE LOST FOOD
PROJECT SUPPORTED
BY BNP Paribas
HAS RESCUED 5 MILLION
MEALS

The
interview

Do people at BNPP AM get involved in this project?

I leave it to the staff to choose if they want to participate, and many do. We have many colleagues who had volunteered time on food collections and distribution activities. I'm genuinely touched that they want to get involved because they can see the impact made on people’s lives. And this links with our corporate philosophy as a firm and our wish to walk the talk here in Malaysia.
Our company’s 1MillionHourstoHelp also supports staff to take time off work for community work that is closest to their hearts.

Do you feel you can promote the sustainability cause through your work at BNPP AM?

FIRMS ARE REACHING
TO US FOR ADVICE ON
HOW INVESTORS
ARE ADDRESSING
CLIMATE RISK

Definitely. Sustainability has become very important in Malaysia, especially over the past couple of years, and at BNPP AM we’re really helping promote that shift towards sustainability.
As we’re widely viewed as a sustainability leader in the Malaysian asset management industry, firms are reaching out to us for advice on what global investors are looking for in terms of addressing climate risk and other environmental issues. We have worked with Bursa Malaysia and the Securities Commission to conduct workshops on ESG1 with public listed companies and the industry. Through our Investment Academy, we have conducted many workshops even collaborating with CFA to help our institutional investors including corporates in integrating ESG in their investments. Regulators had seen how we had truly integrated ESG as mapped out in our Global Sustainability Strategy document, and today they are also seeking our expertise inviting me to be part of the Joint Committee for Climate Change.
From a personal perspective, I learn every day from my expert colleagues in the Sustainability Centre2. As one of the ESG Champions, I take part in our regular calls with our sustainability experts, allowing me to increase my knowledge that I can in turn share with various stakeholders in Malaysia.
I am also excited to bring this learning to the next level where I will be enrolling with the Cambridge Institute for Sustainable Leadership training, thanks to the support of my Management.

FIRMS ARE REACHING
TO US FOR ADVICE ON
HOW INVESTORS
ARE ADDRESSING
CLIMATE RISK

Do you believe that investing responsibly can help shape a better world?

I embrace the concept of sustainable investing wholeheartedly. In my part of the world, a lot of work still needs to be done to improve things – not just the environment, but also labour issues and law. As part of our role as investors we engage on these topics directly with companies, and it’s fantastic to see the improvements that are being made. Companies are setting up sustainability teams, and ask for advice on what needs to be done and how they can improve. Regulators are also putting taxonomies in place to address these issues.
However, there’s still lots of work to do. BNPP AM gives me the perfect platform to promote sustainability through investments and to engage directly on all these hugely important matters with companies, regulators and other stakeholders.

THERE’S STILL LOTS OF WORK TO DO

1 Environment, Social and Governance
2 In 2017, we created the Sustainability Centre, which is now a 25-person, multi-disciplinary expert group which provides investment teams with sustainability research, analysis and data. The Sustainability Centre also supports teams in developing sustainability-themed products and fully integrating sustainability-related risks and opportunities into investment strategies.

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