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The Rising Importance of ESG for Hedge Funds

November 10 @ 11:00 - 12:00

Speaker(s): 

  • Toby Belsom (Director at UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) & Responsible Investments Expert)
  • Dr. Michael Kraten (Professor at Houston Baptist University & ESG expert)

Description:
Over the past few decades, ESG metrics (Environmental, Social, and Governance) have gone from a niche area of interest to an increasingly important determinant of which companies wind up within hedge fund portfolios. While ESG metrics remain far from perfect, fund managers no longer have the luxury of eschewing them. Rising attention to ESG metrics within the community at large has seen more and more money funneled toward socially responsible investments, with industry experts predicting that ESG investments will reach $1 trillion by 2030.

In this virtual speaker series, ESG experts Michael Kraten and Toby Belsom will discuss several of the drivers behind ESG’s importance within the hedge funds. Topics covered will include:

  • The emergence of global ESG capital markets and how it is impacting hedge fund investments
  • The most important ESG factors to consider from a long-term asset management perspective, and how changing shareholder demands are driving them
  • Looming regulations and policies regarding sustainability and their potential impact on ESG investing
  • How to differentiate legitimate ESG efforts from window dressing within company reporting
  • The ESG landscape in North America vs. Asia and Europe
  • The key things limited partners should look for when ESG is part of a hedge fund portfolio

About the Speakers:
Toby Belsom’s Bio:
Toby Belsom is Director of Investment Practices at the PRI, managing a team that develops and publishes asset-specific guides and tools for PRI signatories. Current work includes hedge funds and passive strategies, as well as strategic asset allocation and sovereign debt. Previously, he spent 10 years as a UK equity portfolio manager at Aviva Investors and nine years in the nineties as an equity analyst at NPI and Henderson Investors. After leaving Aviva he spent several years as a consultant, working on an IPO process and ESG/equity markets advisory work. He then worked for ShareAction as Head of Research, where he managed the Asset Owner Disclosure Project as well as a range of surveys, policy, and ESG advocacy work.

Dr. Michael Kraten’s Bio:
Michael Kraten, Ph.D., specializes in the analysis of business opportunities and risks with complex factors and highly uncertain outcomes. He is a professor of accounting at Houston Baptist University, where he designed and now teaches graduate courses in entrepreneurial finance and advanced international accounting, and undergraduate courses in advanced financial accounting and advanced auditing and internal control. He also serves as the chair of accounting, finance, and economics programs at HBU, and as the director of accreditation for all business programs, and is the founder and director of the Campus Learning Community on Sustainability.

Dr. Kraten began his career in the assurance, advisory, and management consulting practices of Deloitte, before going on to co-found the entrepreneurial boutique management consulting practice AQPQ –an acronym that referred to the firm’s academic and practitioner qualifications. He is published in multiple industry journals and publications and serves on committees and task-forces of the American Accounting Association, and is an officer of the Public Interest Section of the Association. He is on the Editorial Advisory Board of the CPA Journal, the Senior Planning and Operations Committee of the Sustainability Investment Leadership Council, and the Advisory Board of the Center for Professional Accounting Practices at Fordham University.

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