Ethical funds manager U Ethical has hired two women to its investments team.
Desiree Lucchese has taken on the role of ethics and impact manager while Rachel O'Connor is the new portfolio manager for fixed income and cash products.
"We're delighted to have both Desiree and Rachel joining us on our mission to invest with purpose," said James Cook, chief investment officer. "Both enjoy an enviable track record as outstanding performers in their field and will consolidate the investment team while significantly contributing to the ongoing development and evolution of the ethical investment function at U Ethical."
Lucchese comes to U Ethical from MSCI ESG Resarch, where she was ESG consultant. She assisted clients "with deeper insights into the drivers of performance and risk in investment portfolios, offering broad asset class coverage and innovative research." She has expertise in environmental systems, innovation projects and the integration of ESG data into investment strategies and decision-making. In her career she has assisted organisations in the design and delivery of corporate sustainability strategies and governance, integrated reporting, stakeholder management and climate risk mitigation and adaptation plans.
Luchhese has been involved in numerous trans-disciplinary and cross-sectoral initiatives, including the EU Commission's life cycle harmonisation pilot phase, the UK's Capital Markets Union and the UN Global Compact - Cities Programme.
"I believe that sustainable finance and sustainable infrastructure are key to scaling sustainable impact and that the time is ripe for business, investors and the public sector to collaboratively shift to a more sustainable, inclusive and regenerative economy," she said. "I'm thrilled to be joining U Ethical and look forward to working with U Ethical's investment team, key stakeholders and industry peers to advance active stewardship that creates shared value through tangible social and environmental outcomes."
At U Ethical, Luchhese will take ownership of U Ethical's ethical investment strategy, evolving the integration of ESG data and the UN Sustainable Development Goals into our investment process. She will also lead U Ethical's engagement efforts with businesses and industry
"Desiree's enthusiasm for the ethical investment sector is evident as is her passion for using capital to deliver better outcomes for people and planet," Cook said. "As a prominent voice across ESG, ethical and responsible investing, we welcome Desiree's input as we strive to not only deliver competitive returns but align investment to impact."
O'Connor comes to U Ethical from Vanguard, where she was a senior portfolio manager. O'Connor has more than 20 years' experience in financial markets, having previously worked with ING, ANZ and UBS.
O'Connor has experience gained from investment banking and investment management roles, covering active and passive portfolio management, credit, rates, money market and foreign exchange. Her particular interests include active credit and initiatives that drive scale into the investment management process.
U Ethical has recently launched three new income focused trusts, U Ethical said.
"I am very excited to be joining an investment firm where ethical investing is core to its mission," O'Connor said. "I look forward to building on the great work that has already been done at U Ethical to deliver sustainable investing to the broader market"
O'Connor is a CFA Charterholder and a member of the CFA Society of Melbourne.
"With historically low rates, the last six months have been remarkable to say the least for fixed income," Cook said. "Rachel's considered expertise will prove invaluable as we strive to deliver optimal outcomes for our portfolios and we navigate our way through this period of uncertainty in search of sustainable yield."
U Ethical, one of Australia's earliest ethical fund managers, began its history as UCA Funds Management, providing investment management for charities, faith-based organisations and their members. Their clients now hail from a range of sectors from private investors and self managed super funds, to institutions in the health and education sectors.