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Franklin Templeton makes new ESG appointment

By Yasmine Masi25 January 2022

Global investment firm, Franklin Templeton, has announced it has appointed Anne Simpson in the newly-created role of Global Head of Sustainability to drive the company’s direction on environment, social and governance (ESG) investment strategy.

Simpson joins Franklin Templeton from the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), where she worked as Managing Investment Director for Board Governance & Sustainability.

She led the development and implementation of CalPERS’ award-winning Sustainable Investment Strategy across a global portfolio of US$500 billion that had 80% of assets managed internally, and she served as the inaugural Chair of the global investor alliance worth US$60 trillion Climate Action 100+.

Simpson brings 35 years of experience in international investment to the California-based position, where she will commence on 22 February and report to Franklin Templeton President and CEO Jenny Johnson.

“A hire of this prominence demonstrates our commitment to being a global leader in stewardship and sustainability, which acknowledges that our choices as responsible investors have a profound effect on the world and its future,” Johnson said.

“We are confident that Anne’s expertise and leadership will take our firm-wide efforts on sustainable investing to the next level. While the strength of our organisation lies with the breadth and autonomy of our specialist investment managers, we also recognise that an organisation of our scale can have a major impact by working collectively on sustainability issues.

Simpson is also experienced in the international regulatory and policy space after serving on the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s Investor Advisory Committee and the International Financial Reporting Standards Advisory Council.

In 2019, she was named as one of the top 15 women leading the global fight on climate change by Time Magazine and was one of the 100 Most Influential Women in US Finance in 2020 according to Barron’s (Dow Jones).

“I am delighted to join Franklin Templeton, a world-renowned investment firm with a 75-year track record shaped by strong values, innovation and long-term conviction. I look forward to being part of its next phase of growth and evolution in sustainable investing,” Simpson said.

“2021 was a year in which the asset management industry reckoned with sustainability challenges and the opportunities these bring across global markets.

“There is new momentum in finance, driven by policymakers in leading European markets, net zero commitments from COP 26 and broad recognition of investors’ role in driving progress on sustainable investing, including important areas like diversity, equity and inclusion, to foster shared prosperity.”

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