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The executive HSBC was suspended due to the climate change “hyperbole” comments has resigned, and says he’s making plans for ‘perhaps the greatest sustainable investment concept ever thought of’

Rebecca Ungarino

Jul 7, 2022, 10:33 PM

Stuart Kirk, the former director of responsible investments at HSBC who was a HSBC employee in May, stated in a talk pictured here, that investors don’t have to be concerned about climate risks.FT Live YouTube channel

  • The HSBC executive who the bank suspended in the spring announced on Thursday that he was resigning.
  • Stuart Kirk, who had managed responsible investments He made controversial climate statements in May.
  • The debate over his comments is a stark reminder of the heated debate over ESG investing.

Stuart Kirk, the HSBC executive that the bank has reportedly has suspended following his remarks in a speech that climate change does not cause concern for investors as an economic risk and announced on Thursday the executive was stepping down.

Kirk Kirk, who was director of responsible investments at the asset management division of HSBC, stated at an event organized by the Financial Times in May that Kirk was not in agreement with the widely-held belief that climate change poses a threat to investments.

Kirk was a journalist for The Financial Times earlier in his career before entering Finance, wrote in an blog post to LinkedIn this Thursday.

The ruckus regarding his presentation its contents were discussed internally prior to Kirk’s public comments as reported by the Financial Times — prompted the members of HSBC management to disengage their own from Kirk and ultimately led to his demotion, the FT reported.

The debate is a sign of the intense debate about investing in the context of social, environmental, and governance aspects.

Since every major asset management and banking business is put a lot of money into the creation of new teams and launching new products and aggressively promoting their commitment in ESG guidelines, the market is increasingly divided about whether ESG aspects are simply an advertising gimmick or a solution to environmental issues.

Kirk has presented a set of slides, titled “Why investors need not worry about climate risk,” and appeared to minimize the scientifically-substantiated threat that climate change could pose. A YouTube video of his speech, which lasted 16 minutes, is available on YouTube has received 160,000 views.

At the time of his presentation Kirk was quoted as saying that statements about the serious risks arising from climate change from public figures such as Henry Paulson, the former US Treasury secretary, and organizations such as that of the Bank of England were overstated. These were essentially attempts to “out-hyperbole the next guy.”

Kirk wrote in the LinkedIn blog post Kirk stated the following “there is no place for virtue signalling in finance,” and added that “words or trading shares can only achieve so much” in the battle to save the planet.

A whole new asset class. Sounds fanciful — but I am not one for hyperbole, as viewers of my presentation know well,” the author wrote, noting that the venture he’s working on will be launched this year.

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