If you’re a senior ESG (environmental, social, and governance) specialist, consider yourself in demand in Singapore, even if you’re currently based abroad. Banks in the Republic are setting up sustainable finance teams, buoyed by increasingly assertive government backing for the sector.
ING is the latest firm to make a senior ESG appointment in Singapore. It’s named Martijn Hoogerwerf, who’s been at the bank since 2019, as head of sustainable finance Asia Pacific, following a year-on-year doubling in APAC sustainability deals in 2021.
While Hoogerwerf was already based in Singapore, headhunters say banks need to bring in fresh foreign talent to meet demand in sustainable finance. “There’s local talent, and expats already living here, but the candidate pool just isn’t large enough right now to meet projected demand. Locals are the priority for all hires, but sustainability is an area where Singapore can’t afford not to welcome global talent,” says one recruiter.
Some ESG experts have already made the move to Singapore. Last month, Eleonore Dachicourt joined BNP Paribas Wealth Management as head of sustainable and responsible investments for Asia, on the back of increased client demand for its sustainable investments offering. She was most recently working for Credit Suisse in Zurich as a managing director, sustainable client solutions, according to her LinkedIn profile.
In January, Sydney-based Stuart Wilson relocated to Singapore to join Eastspring Investments, the Singapore asset management business of Prudential plc, as head of sustainability. In September last year, Citi relocated Raphael Erasmus from London to Singapore as its head of sustainability and corporate transitions for Asia Pacific, a newly-created role.
Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank is recruiting for an ESG centre of excellence in Singapore, and UOB has made several key hires in recent months, including recruiting Melissa Moi in January from Bank of America as head of sustainable business.
Abrdn, NNIP, Nordea Asset Management, Robeco and Schroders have set up sustainability hubs in Singapore, or have announced their intention to do so, according to a survey published in November by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). BlackRock, Fidelity International and Fullerton now have global or Asia Pacific regional ESG heads in Singapore to “drive their sustainable investing strategies and stewardship activities”.
In March, as part of an ongoing ESG push, MAS announced a partnership with CDP, an international non-profit organisation that operates environmental disclosure systems, to promote sustainability disclosures and access to quality ESG data across the financial sector and real economy. That same month, MAS also announced measures to strengthen the financial sector’s resilience to environmental risks, and to enhance sustainability-related disclosures.
Photo by Samuel Toh on Unsplash