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NN IP loses key EMD personnel after responsible investment decision

NN Investment Partners’ head of emerging market debt (EMD) and members of his team have left the Dutch asset manager after it made a responsible investment-related decision affecting their remit.

Marcelo Assalin, Marco Ruijer and “a number of key members” of their team from NN IP will join US manager William Blair Investment Management in the first quarter of next year to form a dedicated EMD team, William Blair announced this morning.

At NN IP, Assalin was most recently head of the EMD team, and Ruijer lead portfolio manager on its EMD hard currency strategy. Lewis Jones has also left NN IP, where he was lead portfolio manager for EMD local currency.

A spokeswoman for NN IP said they had decided to leave after NN IP agreed to “further align” its EMD investing strategy with its beliefs about responsible investing. These are that “responsible investing helps deliver attractive returns for our clients within their risk limits while also contributing to society at large”.

In a statement published by William Blair, Assalin said he and his former teammates had “enjoyed the opportunity to build a strong EMD franchise over the years”.

He added: “I am delighted to be joining a firm that is client focused, empowers its investment teams, where we will have investment autonomy, and be able to incorporate sustainable factors in a holistic and tailored approach that’s beneficial for clients.”

At William Blair, Assalin will report to Stephanie Braming, partner and global head of the asset manager, and serve on her leadership team.

Of Assalin and the others joining William Blair, Braming said: “These experienced and successful investors are a strong cultural fit with our partnership, holistically incorporate ESG into who they are as investors and as a team, and are focused on delivering strong client outcomes.”

NN IP yesterday announced that Edith Siermann, head of specialised fixed income and responsible investing, had been appointed acting head of its EMD team. It also said it had taken the necessary measures to ensure continuity in the management of EMD mandates and funds.

Repeat?

NN IP has experience of losing key EMD staff in a short amount of time. In 2013, when the asset manager was called ING Investment Management, the then co-heads of its team were hired by Neuberger Berman, which also poached more than a dozen of their colleagues.

NN IP announced the appointments of Ruijer and Assalin in fairly quick succession in 2013 as it moved to rebuild its EMD team. Jerry Brewin joined from Aviva Investors that year as head of EMD, with Assalin replacing him in that position in early 2015.

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