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

I joined BNPP AM in September 2019, primarily focusing on selling our solutions to what we describe as the professional buyer segment in the UK. I have a particular focus on global private banks with a strong foothold in the UK market.
Many of the private banks I’ve been speaking to still feel that they’re in the dark about how to approach sustainability. I’ve had quite a lot of success by educating them about the concept and acting as their partner. In essence, I hold their hand and help them find the right path towards sustainability based on their individual needs.



Why did you choose to join BNPP AM?

BNPP AM IS TAKING
THE SUSTAINABILITY
TIPPING POINT VERY
SERIOUSLY

I wanted to join a company where sustainability was seen as critical, not just as a tick-box exercise to appeal to clients. From the calibre of people in the Sustainability Centre1 it was clear to me that BNPP AM was taking what I believe is a sustainability tipping point very seriously. That gave me huge encouragement to join the company and the confidence knowing we are part of a Global Financial Services organisation, the BNP Paribas Group, which in my view is a leader in sustainability in all key areas, across Capital Markets, Wealth Management, Insurance and Retail Banking. All of the Group’s businesses take an active and serious approach to Sustainability.

BNPP AM IS TAKING
THE SUSTAINABILITY
TIPPING POINT VERY
SERIOUSLY

The
interview

Why is sustainability so important to you?

As a father of three children, I feel that I, and we as an industry, we as an organisation, we as adults, have a moral duty to protect our planet for future generations.
The younger generation really impresses me. For example, when it comes to recycling my children just seem to automatically know which bin things go in – whereas I have to think about it because I’ve not been brought up to be aware of sustainability issues. Another example is that the night before my daughter’s seventh birthday she asked my wife and me if we’d wrapped her presents yet. We said we’d do it after she’d gone to bed. And she told us not to because it’s a waste of a tree. That really touched me.
It truly excites me that the younger generation is aware of the natural world. They just get it. And they don’t care about things like gender, skin color or religion in the same way that older generations do – they just see people.

Do you try to embrace sustainability in your personal life?

I’m trying. We live a five-minute drive from the school of one of my daughters, but we’ve stopped going in the car. We walk whatever the weather. In fact, we walk on many of our short journeys now. My family has embraced meat-free Monday, and when we’re choosing our food we do our best to buy local produce. At the start of the lockdown we did our grocery shopping online and the children helped. They didn’t understand why we should buy apples from Scotland or France when we’re surrounded by orchards – they wanted to buy from near where we live.

How else do you try to lead by example?

I’M STUDYING FOR
THE CFA ESG EXAM
SO I KNOW WHAT I’M
TALKING ABOUT WHEN
IT COMES TO
SUSTAINABILITY

We need to have bought into BNPP AM’s approach to making the world more sustainable. If you have not then you should be asking yourself this question – Is BNPP AM the place for me? Well even though I’m 45 years old and I have a full-time job and three children, I’m currently studying for the CFA ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) exam. If I’m talking to my clients about sustainability and how wonderful BNPP AM is in this respect, I think it’ll stand me in good stead to have passed a globally respected ESG exam to show I know what I’m talking about.

I’M STUDYING FOR
THE CFA ESG EXAM
SO I KNOW WHAT I’M
TALKING ABOUT WHEN
IT COMES TO
SUSTAINABILITY

How do your clients see BNPP AM’s sustainability credentials?

A few weeks ago I spoke to a client and they told me they thought BNPP AM was light years ahead of everyone else when it comes to sustainability.
I think the proof of the pudding is the ratings we receive for our sustainability credentials from independent third parties: we’re always near the top of the tree. It’s all well and good talking the talk, but it’s vital that we’re able to show that we walk the walk too. Top ratings prove that we do just that.

What’s next for sustainability?

I think we just have to continue on the path we’re on. We have to constantly encourage investors to carry on focusing on this vital topic, highlighting the investment opportunities that can contribute to protect the future of this planet and generate long term sustainable investment returns.
But it’s also important to remember that ESG isn’t just about the environment. For example, we need to look at things like gender diversity, including at our company. I think that needs to be addressed at board level – where we already have 40% woman representation in our firm –, and from there one would hope it would trickle down throughout the entire organisation. I truly believe that having a diverse group of individuals from all sorts of backgrounds leads to a collaborative decision-making process, which in the end leads to better results.

A SIGN OF OUR SUSTAINABILITY
ENGAGEMENT COMES FROM THE RATINGS
WE RECEIVE FROM THIRD PARTIES

1 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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