Credit Suisse brings in ex-UBS, Lombard Odier senior staff to boost impact-investing team

James Gifford (left) and Helen McDonald (right), both former UBS senior staff, as well as Guillaume Bonnel from Lombard Odier, are the latest additions to Credit Suisse's impact investing team.
James Gifford (left) and Helen McDonald (right), both former UBS senior staff, as well as Guillaume Bonnel from Lombard Odier, are the latest additions to Credit Suisse's impact investing team. PHOTOS: CREDIT SUISSE

SINGAPORE - Credit Suisse Group has made three more senior hires - two of whom were from rival UBS Group - in its impact advisory and finance (IAF) department in Singapore, Zurich and London.

The Swiss bank said these appointments complement Daniel Wild, who joined the IAF department as global head of environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy, as announced in April this year.

James Gifford, based in Singapore, has been named head of impact advisory, the Swiss bank announced on Wednesday morning.

In the newly created role, Mr Gifford advises private wealth clients globally and helps to drive Credit Suisse's impact thought leadership as well as impact industry development initiatives.

Mr Gifford was previously at UBS, where he was head of impact investing within the wealth management division.

Credit Suisse said he was instrumental in championing the transition of financial markets to more sustainable investing, as well as investing with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental benefits. In 2004, Mr Gifford founded the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing (PRI), which now has more than 2,250 signatories including Credit Suisse, representing more than US$85 trillion in assets under management.

He also established and developed the joint family office impact investing programme at Harvard University and the University of Zurich.

Mr Gifford reports to Marisa Drew, chief executive officer (CEO) of the IAF department, with a regional reporting line to Bernard Fung, head of wealth planning services for Asia-Pacific.

Another addition to the department is Guillaume Bonnel, based in Zurich, as head of sustainable and impact products.

Mr Bonnel manages the sustainable and impact product-offering suite, and drives associated product education and advisory services.

He joined from Lombard Odier, where he spent six years and was head of impact investing since 2016. At Lombard Odier, Mr Bonnel was responsible for building the sustainable mandates business for the bank. Before that, he was a sustainable and responsible-investment advisor at several financial institutions, including BNP Paribas.

Mr Bonnel has a dual reporting line to Ms Drew in IAF and to Steven Bates, head of investment product management within investment solutions and products.

Meanwhile, London-based Helen McDonald has taken on the role of UK head of foundations and impact advisory services, also a newly created role.

She looks after non-profit institutions in the UK and advises UK clients on their sustainable and impact investment ambitions.

Ms McDonald also joined from UBS where she was most recently head of charities, foundations and social investing. Before UBS, she had worked at Goldman Sachs, SG Warburg Securities, and Kleinwort Benson Investment Management. She also spent four years as a member of the investment committee at Trinity College in the University of Oxford.

She reports both to the UK private banking team, led by Christian Berchem, CEO of Credit Suisse UK, and to the IAF department, led by Ms Drew.

Said Ms Drew on Wednesday: "Our significant investment in the sustainable finance and impact franchise with these strategic hires will allow us to broaden and deepen our IAF product offering and advisory practice to better serve our clients who aspire to invest more impactfully."

Separately, former Credit Suisse banker Iqbal Khan joined UBS last month as co-head of the wealth management business, amid an overhaul of UBS's top ranks.

Britain's Barclays and Switzerland's Julius Baer have likewise bolstered their wealth businesses by hiring 14 former Credit Suisse bankers.