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People and MarketsComment

Booting up ESG banking 2.0

alamy 2021-06-18 green button push

You’d have to have been living in a cave — or perhaps an unfashionable coal mine — not to have noticed that sustainable finance is booming. But you might be forgiven for not picking up on the major shifts that have been taking place in the discipline in recent years.

For one thing, new recruits joining environmental, social and governance (ESG) capital markets teams these days are less likely to have been bankers at all in their previous jobs. Increasingly, staff are being picked on the basis of their formal training in climate science or a related field, rather than because of experience originating or bookrunning green bonds.

“We’re seeing fewer repurposed bankers who have just picked [ESG] up, which is what we had seen in the early years,” said a senior ESG banker. “We've moved away from that to having a lot more technical ESG specialisation coming through.”

This professionalisation of ESG capital markets has been enabled in part by the panoply of sustainable finance courses that have sprung up at universities and business schools in recent years.

As a result, filling the junior ranks of an ESG team with savvy grads will not be a problem. Grizzled ESG capital markets veterans, however, are few and far between, making it more of a challenge to fill senior spots.

But the struggle to find seasoned specialists is just part of the story. ESG capital markets banking has progressed from its infancy into what might be termed its adolescence, since ESG bankers insist it still has a long way to grow. GlobalCapital this week explored what that means in practice.


Meanwhile, at Credit Suisse

As investment banks build up their sustainability teams, executives at Credit Suisse are probably more immediately concerned with holding onto their more conventional sector-focused investment bankers, following the loss of a FIG team spanning New York and London to Jefferies.

This week’s Southpaw column features the inside story of the targeted raid, which began with Credit Suisse’s New York-based global head of FIG Alejandro Przygoda and extended to George Maddison, a stalwart who had spent the past 30 years at the Swiss bank.

Those who remain at Credit Suisse are looking for reassurance from the top ranks that the investment bank is still a valued, central part of its strategy, and they do not want to wait much longer.

They may be encouraged, however, by news from Brazil, where the firm has demonstrated its ability to attract staff from rivals by hiring BNP Paribas’ head of financial institutions for Latin America, Rodrigo Fittipaldi, as a DCM originator.


Charting a new course

Elsewhere, Stephan Schrameier is the latest departure from Standard Chartered, as the UK bank undergoes a series of reorganisations in Europe and Asia. Based in Frankfurt, Schrameier was head of financial markets and financial markets sales for continental Europe, a brief now held by Stuart Keelan as head of financial markets in the UK and Europe in London, while Heinz Hilger will oversee financial markets locally in Germany.

Finally, MUFG has appointed Randall Chafetz — who was its first non-Japanese executive officer — to the new role of vice-chairman of the global corporate and investment bank, based in New York.

Insiders had been wondering what his new title would be since March, when an internal announcement had indicated that he would be moving into a new “position of key leadership”, as reported by GlobalCapital at the time.