Global wealth and asset manager Lombard Odier announced today the launch of a partnership with the University of Oxford to foster research and teaching on sustainable finance and investment, including the creation of the first endowed professorship of sustainable finance at any major global research university. The partnership will have a particular focus on climate change, circular economy and nature.

According to the partners, the multi-year initiative is aimed at creating a unique platform for knowledge exchange between scholarship and financial services and supporting the emergence of sustainable finance as a major field of academic research globally.

Hubert Keller, Managing Partner at Lombard Odier, said:

“There are unprecedented investment opportunities associated with the global sustainability transition – towards a Circular, Lean, Inclusive and Clean Economy. We call this the “CLIC Economy” and as a firm, we are at the very forefront of identifying and capturing these opportunities.

“Sustainability has always been at the heart of Lombard Odier’s approach to its business and investment philosophy and we are consistently investing in these capabilities. Through their unique and leading capabilities in sustainable finance, we are excited to be working with the University of Oxford with the objective to increase the impact of sustainable investments.”

The five-year partnership includes the following key elements:

  • Lombard Odier and Oxford University will create the first endowed senior academic post in sustainable finance at any major global research university;
  • Dr Ben Caldecott has been appointed the first holder of the post and will become the Lombard Odier Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow of Sustainable Finance at the University of Oxford, based at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment within the School of Geography and the Environment;
  • Lombard Odier will work with Oxford University’s scholars to integrate the University’s pioneering work into their own proprietary research and investment solutions;
  • Oxford will establish a programme for the ongoing training of Lombard Odier investment professionals, while Oxford scholars will benefit from accessing Lombard Odier’s research and product innovation;
  • The two institutions will host a joint annual research forum, open to the wider academic and practitioner community.

Dr Caldecott will lead the partnership. He is a distinguished expert in sustainable finance and investment who is the founding Director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme and the COP26 Strategy Advisor for Finance at the UK Cabinet Office.

Dr Caldecott said:

“Sustainable finance is a structural change in both the demand and provision of financial products and services. It is also mission critical for tackling the massive environmental and social challenges facing humanity.

“But for sustainable finance to be itself sustainable, it needs greater academic rigour, as well as pedagogy to scale the adoption of best practice. This is a huge agenda for both practitioners and researchers, and as the Lombard Odier endowment implies, these questions and issues will endure in some form for many generations. There are also many very immediate questions, such as how to ensure investor portfolios are aligned with climate outcomes, that we’ll seek to answer much more quickly over the coming months and years.”

Dr Christopher Kaminker, Head of Sustainable Investment Research, Strategy & Stewardship at Lombard Odier, said:

“As investors it is our obligation to ensure that we are as informed as possible about the myriad sustainability dynamics that underpin risk and return considerations. These dynamics, including the interlinked transitions to net-zero emissions, a circular economy and regenerative nature are already material to our investment processes and are set to accelerate dramatically in the years ahead. Through supporting research into these critical areas we endeavour to contribute to advancing the research agenda for the public benefit while also enhancing our own investment capabilities for our clients.”