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JP Morgan hires Chuka Umunna to oversee ESG investing

Investment bank turns its focus towards ESG investing

The former Labour leadership candidate has joined US investment bank JP Morgan to lead its European environmental, social and governance (ESG) mission.

Umunna, the former employment lawyer and MP for Streatham, will take up the newly created position, as reported by the Financial Times. 

Vis Raghavan, JP Morgan’s chief executive of EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa), addressed employees at the US bank regarding the decision to hire Umunna, via a memo.

“He has more than 20 years of private and public sector experience in managing ESG issues at a senior level and was recently named one of the top five ESG influencers in the UK.

We welcome Chuka to the firm and look forward to supporting his efforts as we bolster our ESG commitment,” Raghavan wrote in the memo to JP Morgan staff. 

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Umunna joins from Edelman, the global communications firm where the former MP jointly headed up the ESG consulting team.

The appointment comes as JP Morgan and its competitors step up efforts around ESG investing. 

After facing mounting pressure from its shareholders and environmental activists, JP Morgan set about abiding by emissions targets, as well as calling on its clients to do the same.  

ESG ETFs grew exponentially in 2020, up by 223%, with nearly 200 new listings. 

Anaelle Ubaldino, head of ETF research and investment advisory at TrackInsight, believes this is only the beginning.

“It’s clear that 2020 was a long-awaited turning point for ESG ETFs with huge growth in this sector. As competition for potentially trillions of dollars of new ESG assets heating up, we expect to see more issuers enter the ESG ETF market over 2021,″ Ubaldino said.

At one point tipped as the future leader of the Labour Party, Umunna was the MP for Streatham for nearly a decade. Although he never made it into a cabinet, Umunna served in various shadow cabinet positions. 

In September 2019 Umunna vacated his seat in the House of Commons, defecting from Labour to the Liberal Democrats. He contested the London and Westmister seat at the general election but lost to the Conservative candidate by fewer than 4,000 votes.

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