If you're an associate at an investment bank, and you're looking for an exit into something that's not private equity and that makes you feel good about your contribution to the planet, then there is a way. You just need to be a bit creative.
Andrew Hutchison was once an associate in investment banking. Today, he is at Credit Suisse. Hutchison just joined the Swiss bank as a director focused on the bank's net-zero strategy in London.
Hutchison's arrival comes as banks are ramping up their ESG credentials, both in terms of client activities and reducing (or maybe just mitigating) their own emissions. Credit Suisse has already signed up to the not too strenuous goal of achieving net zero by 2050 at least, and is committed to sourcing 100% of its electricity from sustainable sources by 2025. Last year, it appointed Richard Tarboton, a former energy consultant at EY, as global head of its net-zero group. Hutchison is presumably joining Tarboton's team.
And yet, six years ago, Hutchison was just an associate in the investment banking team at Baird, the middle market U.S. investment bank that's built out a team in London. His interest in environmental issues seems to have been catalyzed by eight months volunteering on a reef in Australia. Hutchison left Baird for a strategy role at Virgin Money, where he worked on ESG strategy for two and a half years before moving to Credit Suisse.
Given the comparative nascence of ESG as both a concept and an asset class, qualifications in the area are not well established and even people with a few years' experience can find themselves in strong demand. Hutchison's reinvention of himself away from investment banking and into ESG looks like a blueprint for other investment banking associates with aspirations to do something a bit different.
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