Jane Ambachtsheer, an ESG expert who was born with fiduciary investor governance notions running through her veins thanks to her famous father, has left Mercer where she was a partner and chair of the responsible investing practice, to take up a similar role at BNP Paribas Asset Management.
Her new job, starting at the end of August and requiring a move from Toronto to Paris, follows the passing of her predecessor, Gaetan Obert, who died in May. She will be responsible for the multi-affiliate manager’s overall approach to sustainability and research into the area as well as about US$50 billion in specific ESG-related assets and strategies.
Meanwhile, at Mercer, the global business leader for responsible investment, Australia’s Helga Birgden, will take on the chair responsibilities but the current team structure will remain in place. Formerly the head of ESG at UniSuper, Birgden will continue to work out of Mercer’s Melbourne office.
Ambachtsheer joined Mercer in 2000 and started the firm’s new responsible investing practice in 2003. She said in a Canadian magazine interview in 2014 that even though she grew up with lots of dinner-table conversations on the future of the global pension system and what pension funds needed to do to improve their own governance as well as that of their investee companies, she had never wanted to be a general pensions consultant. She recalls that after she attended a lecture on the plight of refugees while at university in Toronto, she decided she wanted to make more of a difference.
Keith Ambachtsheer, her father, is celebrated in global pension circles and has made several visits to speak at Australian conferences over the years. He co-founded the pension fund benchmarking company CEM Benchmarking and the governance firm KPA Advisory Services, where Jane worked for a while as an intern, and the International Centre for Pension Management at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.
Greg Bright is publisher of Investor Strategy News (Australia)