Allianz Global Investors has hired a former DWS ESG leader to head up a sustainable investing team.
Gerold Koch (pictured below) has been named head of sustainable investment solutions within AllianzGI’s advisory services and solutions unit aimed at institutional investors. The unit is known as risklab.
Koch will be charged with both establishing and leading the Munich-based team, which is aimed at helping clients develop investment strategies for portfolios that reconcile their sustainability requirements with their investment goals.
He was most recently head of ESG investment specialists within the Americas for DWS, a role he held from August 2020 to last month. He had spent 15 years with Deutsche Bank’s asset management arm in various roles, according to his LinkedIn profile.
‘Sustainability is increasingly important for investors and a cornerstone of AllianzGI’s growth strategy,’ said Tim Friederich, who is head of AllianzGI’s risklab.
‘We are therefore pleased to be building a new team at risklab under the leadership of Gerold Koch, which will provide customers with comprehensive advice on all aspects of ESG and sustainable investing,’ Friederich added.
Koch and the new team will also advise clients on issues related to ESG and sustainable investments, and will apply and develop risklab’s quantitative analysis framework to anchor sustainability consistently in portfolio optimization and construction.
Koch and his team will work closely with and complement the sustainable and impact investing team, which is led by Matt Christensen, who joined from Axa Investment Managers at the end of 2020.
ESG and the SEC
Losing key personnel to a rival is a blow to DWS and its ESG efforts.
It also comes at a potentially difficult time for the firm. Last month it emerged that the Securities and Exchange Commission will investigate DWS over claims it overstated how it used sustainability investing criteria in running its funds.
The Wall Street Journal reported that an internal assessment of DWS Group’s ESG capabilities in February found that only ‘a small fraction’ of its investment platform applied a process known as ESG integration.
DWS firmly rejected the allegations made by a former employee, saying that it has always been clear in its reporting and differentiated between ‘ESG Integrated’ and ‘ESG Dedicated’ assets under management.