Danish insurance and pensions provider Topdanmark announced it has hired Andreas Stang to fill its newly-created role of head of responsible investments, luring him away from his current job as head of ESG at Denmark’s largest commercial pension fund PFA.

Topdanmark – which is a major occupational pension provider in Denmark but makes more from general insurance – said the hire formed part of its plan to increase its focus on responsible investing.

Stang, who has previously worked for Danske Bank as a senior ESG analyst, is due to start his new role on 1 September, the firm said.

He said: ”If you are serious about ESG, then it is important that the function is located where you make your investments, and that you are consistent in choosing the right companies, sectors or countries to invest in.”

Topdanmark had shown it was ready to engage with sustainability and accountability more broadly and systematically within its investment processes, he added.

A spokesman for the company, which is based in the Copenhagen suburb of Ballerup, told IPE that Stang would be joining an existing team of portfolio managers “where ESG responsibility is embedded in the mandates”.

The position was new, and the decision to create it was mostly driven by overall expanding activity, he said.

Henrik Thornval, director of Topdanmark Asset Management — who has been responsible for ESG up to now — said: “We are experiencing significant customer interest in, as a pensioner, being able to avoid having to live on money earned from investments in companies that destroy the environment, grossly exploit employees and everything else that is being thrown up by ESG analyses.”

This February, Topdanmark launched the new pension product Formålspension (Purposeful Pension), which imposes stricter ESG rules on its equity investments than apply overall to the firm’s shareholdings.

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