Hermes brings in Lansons to boost responsibility credentials

One of the UK's leading asset management firms has called in Lansons Communications to help solidify its reputation as a responsible and sustainable investor.

Sustainable: Hermes hires Lansons
Sustainable: Hermes hires Lansons

Hermes has handed a lucrative retained brief to Lansons to handle its corporate and financial PR, which will focus on using its heritage in corporate governance to position Hermes as a leader in the 'responsible' asset management field.

The concept of responsible and sustainable asset management - investing for the long-term as well as taking an active role in managing and encouraging transparency - appears to be gaining traction as regulators and participants look to rebuild trust in the financial sector.

The appointment comes as a YouGov poll for the Sustainable Investment Finance Association (UKSIF) found that 50 per cent of investors agreed that the UK Government should encourage greater transparency from the financial services industry to improve awareness of green and ethical investments.

Tony Langham, chief executive of Lansons, who is leading the account alongside board director Henrietta Guthrie, said: 'In the wake of the global financial crisis, there will be a re-think on how the City works. Key to this is ensuring that the shareholders, who own our major companies, act responsibly and engage with management. Hermes, with its heritage in corporate governance, aims to be at the forefront of this process.'

Lansons was one of three shortlisted contenders. The incumbent agency was Hogarth Partnership, which was understood to have re-pitched.

Jane Routledge, comms director at Hermes, said: 'Hogarth did a great job but it is time to make a change as our needs evolve.'

One of Lansons' first tasks will be to promote the firm's 'Responsible Asset Management' conference in partnership with City of London next week, which will be addressed by Paul Tucker, Stephen Green and Lord Myners.

Underlining the sector's potential, UKSIF figures found that net sales of ethical funds reached £59m during the third quarter, compared with net sales of £21m during the same period last year.

HOW I SEE IT

- TOM HAMPSON-BELLON, FOUNDER, HB COMMUNICATIONS

We're seeing a shift in consumer behaviour in relation to the financial services products people purchase as well as an increased understanding from investors that they need to take note of the social impact of their activities.

Recent market failures have only served to buttress arguments for ethical and sustainable investment.

- MARK KNIGHT, DIRECTOR, BROADGATE MAINLAND

People will invest in sustainable funds as long as they perform similarly to, or better than, non-sustainable funds.

There is now a constant awareness of good corporate governance, environmental and social issues but investors are not going to lose money for sustainability.

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