JPMorgan has employed Chuka Umunna to supervise its European environmental, social and governance advisory efforts, making the previous Labour MP the newest high-profile politician to take a senior position within the Metropolis of London.
Umunna, who was a UK employment lawyer earlier than being elected in 2010, will be part of JPMorgan in a newly created place that goals to unite all its ESG-related actions with shoppers, based on a memo seen by the Monetary Occasions.
The place will make him one of the crucial senior black bankers in London’s monetary providers business and a key a part of a drive on the Wall Road large to spice up its environmental and social credentials.
The rent additionally comes just over a month after JPMorgan’s longest-serving board director, Lee Raymond, the 82-year-old former chief government of oil main ExxonMobil, resigned from his position following sustained stress on the financial institution from local weather activists and buyers.
ESG impacts “the whole lot from company finance methods and funding flows to day-to-day operational choices and capital allocation”, stated JPMorgan’s Emea head Vis Raghavan within the memo. “Purchasers are taking a look at how they could must adapt their enterprise fashions.”
Whereas by no means in authorities, Umunna was an influential British politician as shadow enterprise secretary and member of the Treasury choose committee. Two years in the past, he give up Labour in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s management and based a brand new social gathering referred to as Change UK. After it fared poorly in EU elections, he joined the Liberal Democrats, however he didn’t win a seat within the 2019 election.
The 42-year-old follows within the footsteps of quite a few MPs in recent times. Final week, the FT reported that George Osborne, the previous Conservative UK chancellor, is becoming a member of Robey Warshaw, a London-based boutique UK advisory agency. Sajid Javid, who held the identical authorities workplace, secured a lucrative role advising JPMorgan final summer time.
There have additionally been many transitions to finance by left-leaning Labour politicians. Shortly after stepping down as prime minister, Tony Blair took a £2m-a-year part-time role additionally counselling JPMorgan. In 2015, his political successor Gordon Brown turned an adviser to Pimco, one of many world’s largest asset managers.
Whereas in authorities, Umunna was sometimes outspoken in defending UK corporations from abroad acquisitions, which is a vital income for lenders with international funding banking arms.
In February 2017, Umunna took to Twitter to blast Kraft Heinz’s aborted takeover of Anglo-Dutch shopper group Unilever, declaring “good riddance”. He wrote that the US meals group’s house owners “have a popularity for price reducing within the quick time period on the expense of long-term funding, development and — most significantly — jobs.”
JPMorgan was enjoying a number one position serving to to finance the Kraft Heinz bid, a number of folks with direct information of the matter informed the FT on the time.
Umunna’s appointment comes as a part of ESG-related initiatives from JPMorgan, which has reported bumper profits via the coronavirus pandemic.
Final 12 months the bank bowed to years of stress from shareholders and activists to undertake a dedication in alignment with the Paris local weather accord, and pledged $30bn in monetary support to assist deal with racial inequality within the US.
In 2020 it was the highest international underwriter of inexperienced bonds with about 6 per cent of the $544bn market — together with offers for Adidas and Alphabet — and is reportedly serving to prepare the UK’s inaugural “inexperienced gilt” sovereign bond.
Nonetheless, regardless of these credentials, the US financial institution can be one of many largest financiers of fossil gasoline corporations on the planet, based on information from the Rainforest Alliance.
Umunna will work alongside Rama Variankaval, who runs JPMorgan’s not too long ago introduced Heart for Carbon Transition, which advises and supplies financing for shoppers on sustainability. He joins from PR firm Edelman, the place he was co-head of ESG consulting.
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