Global investment manager Franklin Templeton announced today the launch of a new Stewardship and Sustainability Council, responsible for setting and supporting a common research agenda for stewardship and sustainability across the firm, in addition to tackling topics such as data requirements, transparency, and reporting.

The new council is being formed following the completion by Franklin Templeton of the $4.5 billion acquisition of investment and asset management firm Legg Mason. According to Franklin Templeton, the acquisition resulted in one of the industry’s most extensive networks of ESG leaders, and served as a catalyst to evolve its firm-level approach to stewardship and sustainable investing.

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The Stewardship and Sustainability Council will be co-chaired by David Sheasby, Head of Stewardship and ESG for Specialist Investment Management unit Martin Currie, formerly part of Legg Mason, and David Zahn, Head of European Fixed Income, and Head of Sustainable Fixed Income for Franklin Templeton Fixed Income.

According to the company, the new council will serve to connect its dedicated ESG leaders from across the firm’s 19 specialist investment managers to guide the continued evolution of its ESG infrastructure and best practices. The council will also provide insights and guidance on key sustainability topics and serve as forum to monitor and provide feedback on related policy and regulation.

Franklin Templeton also announced that it is actively recruiting for a new Global Head of ESG following the decision by current head Julie Moret to leave the firm.

Jenny Johnson, President and CEO of Franklin Templeton, said:

“We aspire to become a global leader in stewardship and sustainability and we are excited to announce the formation of the Stewardship and Sustainability Council that will leverage the considerable ESG expertise embedded within our investment teams. While the strength of our organization lies with the breadth and autonomy of our specialist investment managers, we also recognize that an organization of our scale can have tremendous positive impact by working collectively on stewardship and sustainability matters for the benefit of our clients.”