JPMorgan strengthens focus on sustainable investing with new hire

Jennifer Wu, who joins from BlackRock as the new head of sustainable investing at the bank’s asset management business, will also oversee the Sustainable Investment Leadership Team.

JPMorgan Asset Management has tapped Jennifer Wu, until recently a member of BlackRock’s sustainable investing team, to fill the newly-created role of global head of sustainable investing.

Wu has extensive experience in the energy sector. Before joining BlackRock in 2014, she worked for the Asian Development Bank in the energy sector of the Central and West Asia department where she was responsible for infrastructure project finance and energy sector reform. She began her career in venture capital and private equity, focusing on equity investments in technology and renewable energy in Asia.

Asked whether Wu, in her new role, will focus on environmental issues or on social and governance issues as well, a spokeswoman for the firm responded: “Within sustainable investing we consider the E, S and G factors. We recognise that sustainable investing represents a broad set of opportunities and that clients may choose to implement their views based on explicit portfolio objectives.”

Wu, who will be based in London, will report to Shari Schiffman, co-head of global project strategy at JPMAM. She will also lead JPMorgan’s Sustainable Investing Leadership Team, a cross-functional team comprising senior-level executives from all regions who work on promoting best practices, identifying and assessing ESG issues and broadening investment capabilities, according to a company document.

“JPMorgan has been integrating ESG factors across our investment teams globally and will continue to build capabilities to meet increasing client demand for sustainable investing,” Schiffman said in a statement, adding that Wu will build on the firm’s “strong results”.

JPMAM has been a signatory of the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment since 2007. Last year, it scored an A in the infrastructure category, in line with the industry’s median score.

The creation of the new role comes at a time when an increasing number of firms and industry leaders are underscoring the importance of ESG, including Anton Pil, managing partner of JPMAM’s Global Alternatives business.

“While it has always played an important role, we have reached a tipping point, where ESG has become the dominant trend shaping the private infrastructure investment landscape,” Pil wrote in a guest commentary for Infrastructure Investor.