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Anne Simpson

Franklin Templeton appoints global sustainability head

By Malavika Santhebennur
3 minute read

The investment firm has created the new role of global head of sustainability, based in California.

Franklin Templeton has appointed Anne Simpson to the newly created role, and she will be in charge of driving the firm’s overall strategic direction on stewardship, sustainability and environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment strategy globally.

She will report to president and CEO Jenny Johnson, and will join the firm on 22 February 2022, based in California.

Ms Simpson was previously at California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), where she served as managing investment director for board governance and sustainability, leading the development and execution of CalPERS’ sustainable investment strategy across a global portfolio of US$100 billion, with 80 per cent of assets managed internally.

She also served as a member of its investment management committee, which determines asset liability management, capital allocation, risk management and operations across global public equity, fixed income, private equity, private credit, real assets and infrastructure. In addition, she served as the inaugural chair of Climate Action 100+ and its Asia advisory group, a global investor alliance of US$60 trillion which CalPERS convened and co-founded.

Prior to joining CalPERS, Ms Simpson was a senior faculty fellow and lecturer at the Yale School of Management, head of the Global Corporate Governance Forum at the World Bank, executive director of the International Corporate Governance Network and joint managing director of Pensions & Investment Research Consultants (PIRC) Ltd.

Ms Simpson has experience in the international regulatory and policy arena, having served on the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s Investor Advisory Committee, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s Investor Advisory Group and the International Financial Reporting Standards Advisory Council.

Commenting on the appointment, Ms Johnson said the appointment has demonstrated the investment firm’s focus on stewardship and sustainability, while acknowledging that the firm’s choices as responsible investors could impact the world and its future.

“We are confident that Anne’s expertise and leadership will take our firm-wide efforts on sustainable investing to the next level,” she said.

“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. We are thrilled to have Anne leading our efforts in this critically important area.”

Ms Simpson said she is looking forward to partaking in Franklin Templeton’s evolution and next phase of growth in sustainable investing.

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

“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.”

To hear more about the increasing demand for ESG investing and how advisers can tailor their advice to suit client demand, click here attend the 2022 ESG Summit.