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Legal & General steps up ESG efforts with new hire

The UK insurer’s investment management unit has hired debt and ESG specialist Shuen Chan to lead its real assets group’s expanded ESG strategy.

Growing responsibilities: Chan takes on expanded ESG role at LGIM Real Assets

Legal & General Investment Management is expanding the environmental, social and governance strategy of its real assets division by creating a new role.

Shuen Chan, who has 25 years’ experience in sustainability, debt capital markets and asset management, is joining LGIM Real Assets as head of ESG, the firm said in a statement.

“As one of the UK’s largest institutional investors and real asset owners, we have a major part to play [in combating climate change],” said Rob Martin, director, strategy and ESG, at LGIM Real Assets, to whom Chan will report.

According to the statement, Chan’s early career was in debt capital markets at Deustche Bank, Macquarie and HSBC, across Asia and Europe. Most recently, she co-founded Sustineri, an ESG advisory firm helping institutional investors make the case for investing in energy transition.

Asked how this new role will change LGIM Real Assets’ strategy with regards to ESG, a spokesman for the firm said: “We have expanded the remit of this role to match the growth of our business. Whilst it was previously focused heavily on real estate equity, this role now covers both debt and equity, in both real estate and infrastructure.”

Chan will be working closely with Malcolm Harris, LGIM Real Assets’ sustainability manager, and will be leading a team of three, according to the spokesman.

LGIM has traditionally invested in infrastructure debt. According to its website, its infrastructure portfolio stood at £3.9 billion as of December 2018. Last March, the firm hired Jonathan Ord to help launch an infrastructure equity platform, but he left three months later returning to his previous role of investment director at the UK’s Local Pensions Partnership.

Asked whether LGIM Real Assets was still planning to establish an infrastructure equity line of business, its spokesman replied that the firm “is committed to delivering an infrastructure equity investment product as part of the expansion of its real assets platform, and aims to deliver a full spectrum of real estate and infrastructure products that meet client needs. We are looking to deliver a core infrastructure equity investment strategy, with a focus on ESG,” he said, but did not provide a time frame or further details.